[UPDATED] Wash. U. Med School Says Memo Warning of "Eco-Terrorism" is a Hoax

Categories: Animals, Politics
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Still from a video about the Animal Liberation Front
Update: Washington University School of Medicine spokeswoman Joni Westerhouse just got back to us with this, in no uncertain terms:
Washington University Protective Services did not send this memo to the medical center.
Westerhouse adds that she first heard about it from our blog post (below). The source who forwarded us the document also got back to us, insisting that a family member who works at the medical center did receive it in their mailbox. Hmm.

More updates if and when we have 'em; meantime we've revised the original post and uploaded a copy of the purportedly genuine counterfeit memorandum.

Original Post: With militant animal-rights activists converging on St. Louis for a national conference this weekend, security personnel at Washington University are warning staffers at the Medical Center "to be on high alert for potential terrorist activity," according to an electronic copy of a memo on Washington U. letterhead that was forwarded to Riverfront Times.
The memo cites potential dangers that include "break-ins, arson and animal kidnappings." 

St. Louis Vegans, a local group participating in the conference, confirms on its website that Wash U. facilities in the Central West End are "a major target of opportunity...particularly for the schoolʼs use of primates" in medical research.

The memo, signed "WUSM Protective Services," states that campus security is "taking the threat of eco-terrorist activity...very seriously," adding that a primary goal of activists will be "obtaining video footage of [research] animals." Thus, the memo advises:
Every precaution should be taken to make your animals 'presentable.' This should include replacing bandages often, ensuring animals have adequate food and water, and employing heavy security where there are animals in a post-op stage or animals with visible evidence of surgery or implants. Take extra steps to maintain all Animal Welfare Act standards. [emphasis in the original]
This weekend's conference -- entitled "Free The Animals - Effective Action Against Vivisection" --  begins Thursday at a Holiday Inn in south county. The program includes lectures entitled, "We Know Where You Sleep at Night: Investigating Animal Abusers," and "Investigating Animal Labs -- Getting the Dirt on Animal Abusing Criminals," as well as "A Case for Nonviolence." 

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Purported "eco-terrorism alert" memo forwarded to RFT. The Washington University School of Medicine says the document is a fake.
One marquee participant is animal-rights extremist Peter D. Young of the Animal Liberation Frontline.

Young, a 35-year-old from the Pacific Northwest, describes himself an "unapologetic supporter of those who work outside the law to achieve human, earth, and animal liberation."

He was indicted in 1998 for cutting fences on Midwestern fur farms and setting free thousands of mink. He eluded the FBI for seven years before being caught shoplifting CDs from a Starbucks. He was sentenced to two years in prison after a conviction under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (hence the memo's reference to Young as a "convicted terrorist").

Since his release, Young has spoken at Saint Louis University in 2010; see our coverage here.

The copy of the purported memo forwarded to RFT warns that Young and other presenters:
travel the country urging activists to commit crimes in the name of animal rights. Their appearances are often followed by eco-terrorist activity. This makes the period of Thursday through Monday extremely sensitive. We will be working with local and federal law enforcement to pursue Animal Enterprise Terrorism charges against anyone trespassing in research buildings."
Oh, and according to the memo: "Intruders will often employ disguises, so ask questions of any couriers, delivery persons, etc."


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10 comments
eugeniaholak
eugeniaholak

SO THERE!!!! science guy. As I read your paragraph I imagined you crossing your arms, stamping your feet, and pouting your lips. Dont waste time science guy, youve got to go and make sure the animals LOOK PRESENTABLE! Make sure the primates have been taken out of those torture contraptions so the cleaning people dont boil them alive, then make sure the animals cages are clean of urine and faeces and blood, then make sure animals bodies have been properly sewn up before placed back into cages. You may have to "re sew" a few as company is coming. Animal research is a cruel failure set up for the benefit of only large corporations and legal protection for pharmaceuticals.  So scurry off science guy, you and your vivi buddies have a lot of work to do! The saviours are coming! 

ScienceGuy
ScienceGuy

Okay, listen up you knuckleheads... I hope all of your commenting here about how they should "shut down that Auschwitz" (purposefully an anti-Semitic twist of the knife to Barnes-JEWISH Hospital, the WashU-affiliated teaching hospital, I am sure) should do your part and steer clear of the ER, all medications and all cures we scientists and doctors come up with through our research at this "Auschwitz." Yep, I hope the next time you have a headache, or your mom is having a heart attack, you choose to hug a tree instead of taking or administering an aspirin, because guess what: all the work that led to understanding how aspirin functions as a blood thinner was done, you guessed it, in ANIMALS. You're all ignorant, uninformed, fools. Stay away from our campus and stop reaping the benefits of modern day science and medicine while trying to shut down the process that gets the cures to you!

judithal2000
judithal2000

Well I wish the American public WOULD converge on that Auschwitz and leave it dysfunctional.  I don't understand how a community could tolerate such a place.

judithal2000
judithal2000

Cruelty to animals should be illegal.  Where are our lawmakers, our politicians, our law enforcement?  A little bit of stiff legislation will wipe out this abomination.

compassionisvegan
compassionisvegan

This just goes to show they have something to hide. People who aren't doing anything wrong never fear the light, or the truth. Vegans and Animal Rights Activists spread light in grim places and speak the truth about vivisection. It's a useless, cruel, and vile industry. We all need to see how their fear is our strength because we have truth on our side. Keep shining light on dark places.

eggplant.wizard.5000
eggplant.wizard.5000

'St. Louis Vegans, a local group participating in the conference, confirms on its website that Wash U. facilities in the Central West End are "a major target of opportunity.... particularly for the schoolʼs use of primates" in medical research.'

 

I know who you got this quote from, and I know you are taking it completely out of context. I was involved in the planning of this conference, and at no time did we ever consider any sort of terrorist action or break-in. The "target of opportunity" refers to public perception about the nature of the treatment of these primates. We think that people will be sympathetic to the idea that cutting open live animals and just "rooting around" is not an acceptable practice. Simply put, we want to stop vivisection. That is what this conference is about, not some meeting of a bunch of fringe radicals where we plan to storm WashU and commit acts of violence. 

 

By the way, several respected local businesses are sponsoring the conference, which again is an anti-vivisection conference. If anyone is interested in learning about some of the horrible practices to which many animals are subjected please attend. http://www.all-creatures.org/saen/event-20121027-28.html

LizzyShake
LizzyShake

What? Everyone knows Starbucks only carries terrible CDs...that's my takeaway.

judithal2000
judithal2000

Listen up, Science Geek:  I live in California and never heard of the Barnes Jewish Hospital, but I do agree with you that that joint merits a literal "twist of the knife."  Can't you Mizzou hicks find some better way to invent aspirin than torturing housecats?  Try cracking a chemistry book.

jr5star
jr5star

 @judithal2000

 Our government is evil.....they are influenced by lobbyists and those with the most money. 

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