Legal shield for Calif. researchers?

University scientists in California who use animals in their research may get some legal protection from animal rights groups, which have linkurl:attacked;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54287/ and linkurl:harassed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54379/ researchers there in recent months. On Thursday (Apr 17) the California Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a bill sponsored by the University of California system that aims t

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Apr 20, 2008
University scientists in California who use animals in their research may get some legal protection from animal rights groups, which have linkurl:attacked;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54287/ and linkurl:harassed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54379/ researchers there in recent months. On Thursday (Apr 17) the California Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a bill sponsored by the University of California system that aims to mete out stiffer penalties for what a UC linkurl:fact sheet;http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/animalresearch/ab2296factsheet.pdf labels "acts specifically related to animal enterprise terror." The bill now moves on to the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. "The committee's decision today to move this bill forward is an important step in addressing this issue," said UC Provost linkurl:Wyatt Hume;http://www.ucop.edu/acadaff/wrhbio.html in a linkurl:statement;http://pub.ucsf.edu/today/cache/feature/200804182.html posted Friday (Apr 18) on UC, San Francisco's Web site. "It represents a crucial acknowledgment by the Legislature of the importance of maintaining academic freedom and a university environment free of violence and intimidation." In addition to outlining new...
cked;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54287/ and linkurl:harassed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54379/ researchers there in recent months. On Thursday (Apr 17) the California Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a bill sponsored by the University of California system that aims to mete out stiffer penalties for what a UC linkurl:fact sheet;http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/animalresearch/ab2296factsheet.pdf labels "acts specifically related to animal enterprise terror." The bill now moves on to the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. "The committee's decision today to move this bill forward is an important step in addressing this issue," said UC Provost linkurl:Wyatt Hume;http://www.ucop.edu/acadaff/wrhbio.html in a linkurl:statement;http://pub.ucsf.edu/today/cache/feature/200804182.html posted Friday (Apr 18) on UC, San Francisco's Web site. "It represents a crucial acknowledgment by the Legislature of the importance of maintaining academic freedom and a university environment free of violence and intimidation." In addition to outlining new criminal penalties for linkurl:targeting animal researchers,;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/4/1/40/1/ the bill gives California universities the right to bring civil lawsuits against harassers on behalf of their employees. The bill also gives universities the option to withhold information - like names and home addresses - that might be used to identify, locate, or target animal researchers. In a linkurl:document;http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_2251-2300/ab_2296_cfa_20080417_164407_asm_comm.html that accompanied their decision to pass the bill last week, the judiciary committee mentioned the need to protect academic freedoms but also raised the concern that the legislation might impinge on the freedom to legally protest against other enterprises, such as tobacco companies, defense suppliers, and gun manufacturers, in California. "While UC passionately and unequivocally supports the civil and free expression of views, including those that oppose the use of animals in research, the university will not tolerate acts of violence and harassment," Hume said in a statement. Hat tip to linkurl:__The Chronicle of Higher Education__.;http://chronicle.com/news/article/4340/california-seeks-controversial-legal-protections-for-animal-researchers

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