NIH statement on firebombing of Edie London’s home

Last week, we discussed the cowardly terrorist act toward UCLA’s Dr Edythe London which was then expanded upon quite forcefully by Mark Hoofnagle at his denialism blog.
While we spend a fair bit of time around these parts questioning the leadership of the US national health agency, this statement of response from NIH is quite good:

On Tuesday, February 5, an incendiary device ignited at the front door of the home of Dr. Edythe London, an NIH-supported senior scientist and professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. This domestic terrorist act against a scientist who has dedicated 30 years of her life to medical research is intolerable.
This is the second time in four months that Dr. London has been targeted. The first time, an extremist group calling itself the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for flooding London’s home and causing $30,000 worth of damage. Although no one has claimed responsibility for this attack, it is similar to two previous strikes by animal rights activists (in 2006 and 2007) against an ophthalmologist and a research psychologist at UCLA. In these attacks, the extremists used Molotov cocktail-type devices, which were lit but did not ignite. These attacks are part of a campaign of unrelenting harassment that has also involved the researchers’ family members.
Dr. London has dedicated most of her life to studying how chronic drug abuse affects brain function and behavioral control. Her work is a prime example of NIH’s efforts to promote translational research, tightly integrating animal and human studies in order to more rapidly bring new discoveries to the public. Dr. London’s research is part of a broader public health effort to develop effective treatments for people suffering from addiction–a disease that devastates individuals, families, communities, and costs society more than half a trillion dollars annually in health and crime-related costs and losses in productivity.
It is important to note that there are laws, regulations, and policies to ensure the appropriate care and use of animals in federally-funded research activities. The knowledge we gain from animal models is used to develop life-saving treatments for many diseases affecting the public health, including addiction. This knowledge ultimately saves lives and improves the quality of life for individuals, their families, and all of society.
Attacks on researchers and scientific institutions threaten the health of the nation. Terrorism against researchers using animals is real and intolerable. The terrorist activity against Dr. London and her family was not just intimidation–it was life threatening. This was a threat not only to her, but to dedicated scientists working to improve serious health problems facing this country. This violence must stop. [emphasis mine]
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director, NIH
Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research, NIH
Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH

4 thoughts on “NIH statement on firebombing of Edie London’s home

  1. While I’m all for animal rights, bombing the crap out of someone isn’t a very good way to get people to sympathize with your cause. The Animal Liberation Front should (if they really want to help animals) start a petition, call their Congressmen, SOMETHING that doesn’t involve hurting other people. They’re doing more harm than good, right now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s