A recent Science Careers article on the career impact of animal research controversies
noted, "animal researchers must walk a tough line, balancing the needs
science and society, the welfare of their animal subjects, their
personal ethics, and–occasionally–threats to their personal safety
and the safety of loved ones." That danger to researchers and their
families became all too real on Saturday in Santa Cruz, California.
The San Jose Mercury-News reported on Saturday
that two researchers suffered firebomb attacks, one on the victim’s
home and the other on a car, in Santa Cruz. Both victims are faculty
members at University of California at Santa Cruz.
One of the faculty members targeted, David Feldheim, is a
neuroscientist who uses mice in some of his experiments. According to
police, the attack on Feldheim’s home took place early Saturday
morning, while his family was at home. The entire family, including two
young children, managed to escape, but Feldheim later said he suffered
bruising that will require him to walk on crutches until he recovers.
a separate incident, a car was firebombed while parked in a driveway of
a campus residence inhabited by another university researcher. Police
have not yet released the name of the car’s owner.
was one of 13 Santa Cruz researchers listed on fliers found at a local
coffee shop on Tuesday. The fliers said the researchers used mice,
fruit flies, and other sub-primate species in their experiments, and
included home addresses, telephone numbers, and photos of the
researchers. The owner of the firebombed car was not one of the
researchers listed on the fliers.
The Mercury-News reports today
that the FBI has taken over the case. Santa Cruz police chief Steve
Clark says his department is investigating the attack on Feldheim as an
attempted homicide because his family was at home at the time.