On July 10, the shadowy Animal Liberation Front (ALF), an animal rights group that has waged a campaign of vandalism against academics in California, splashed both paint and paint thinner on a trio of cars in a residential area of the UC Irvine campus. The vehicles belong to Michael Selsted, a pathologist currently on leave from the university and who is now the chair of USC's pathology department. Both the UC Irvine police and the FBI are investigating the incident.
A press release issued today by the Animal Liberation Press Office, which claims to receive anonymous alerts of ALF activities, described Selsted as a "UC Irvine vivisector" although a university spokesperson claimed Selsted has only performed research on rats and mice and hasn't worked with even those animals in years.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"On July 10, 2009 3 vehicles and the home of a UC Irvine vivisector were hit by the ALF," the group announced. "1 of his cars (the fanciest of the 4 in front) was doused with paint stripper. 2 others had red paint poured all over them. More red paint was splattered across his driveway, and "KILLER" was spray painted in huge red letters across his garage door so that all his neighbors could see what a cruel, sick person they live near."
ALF's statement also included a direct message to Selsted. "The red paint on your cars and home is a reminder that these things were purchased with the blood of tortured, innocent animals that are subjected to your sadistic experiments. We know this action was just a minor inconvenience for you, but we hope it makes you realize that your actions have consequences. We can only hope that one day someone will make you suffer as much as the animals in the laboratories you work in. Make the ethical decision (if not for the innocent animals, than [sic] for your own good.) Stop vivisection."
The act was the second known ALF action to occur in Orange County, following an incident in November 2007 in which the group left an incendiary device in an after-hours deposit box at a Wachovia Bank branch in Laguna Woods. (ALF claimed Wachovia had invested in an controversial animal testing laboratory in New Jersey). The group has also vandalized cars and left unexploded bombs at houses at UCLA as well as a Wachovia executive in Portland.
"UCI strongly condemns these illegal and reprehensible actions," said Tom Vasich, a UC Irvine spokesman. Vasich added that UC Irvine conducts no research on primates and that Selsted, whose research involves trying to find a cure for bacterial infections in the blood that kills thousands of people a year, hasn't even worked with rats or mice in years. "He wasn't doing any animal research at all," he said. "So it's very surprising that he was a target of these vandals."