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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 19, 2004

President Skorton Responds To ALF Claim

Dear University of Iowa Colleagues:

Today we learned that anonymous members of the Animal Liberation Front are claiming responsibility for the violent attacks on laboratories and offices in Seashore Hall and Spence Laboratories on our campus on Sunday, November 14. We have shared that message with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and hope that it will help in the effort to solve this criminal case.

Reasonable people do not resort to violence and vandalism and then follow those acts with further threats of violence. Reasonable people can and do disagree about when and how using animals in research is appropriate ethically and/or scientifically. But make no mistake: the message from the perpetrators of this crime, which identifies not only the home addresses of our researchers, but also names family members, can have no other purpose than to intimidate. We will not be bullied. I have directed our University of Iowa Police Department to work with other law enforcement agencies to take action to help ensure the safety of our faculty, staff, students and their families. Just as importantly, we will take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard the laboratories and offices of our colleagues who have dedicated their lives to the discovery of new knowledge.

At a time like this, when one of our core values is being questioned, it must be said that The University of Iowa is committed to the pursuit and discovery of knowledge that contributes to society's general welfare. The knowledge gained from biological research involving animals has come to be valued highly by society because it promotes the health and well-being of humans and animals. The majority of Americans endorse the use of animals to advance medicine and science when there are no non-animal alternatives, and when it is done in an ethical and humane way.

When the use of animals is necessary, The University of Iowa does everything in its power to ensure animal well-being and responsible animal care and use. The University Animal Care and Use Committee is charged with reviewing and approving all University activities related to the care and use of animals in research. In addition, caretakers
under the close supervision of veterinary staff provide husbandry to the animals every day.

I call on our entire University to reach out to the members of our community who have been directly attacked, as well as those who have been cut off from their work and forced into temporary quarters by these unconscionable acts. In closing, I want to strongly reiterate what I said previously: We will emerge from this incident with an even stronger commitment to continue our scholarly and creative endeavors.

David Skorton

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 530-6972