Animal Rights Arsonists Could Face Attempted Murder Charges


The FBI has decided to bring attempted murder charges against the still unidentified perpetrators of a June 30 attempted firebombing. The attack targeted the Los Angeles home of a university professor who uses animals in some experiments.

The increasingly reckless Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed credit in July for the failed attack it said it launched at the Bel Air neighborhood home of Lynn Fairbanks, a UCLA psychiatry professor who heads the Center for Primate Neuroethology. The ALF, which in the past has promised that its partisans would never harm animals or humans, said it left the Molotov cocktail by a door opening onto a porch.

Just one trouble, officials say: The attacker or attackers actually left the explosive device on the doorstep of neighbors -- an uninvolved, 70-year-old woman and her tenant.

Not only that. Arson investigators said that because of the placement of the incendiary device and the situation of the woman's house on a steep hillside, "escape would have been difficult to impossible" if the device had ignited. As a result, federal officials decided to upgrade planned arson charges to attempted murder.

At the same time, the FBI also upped a reward for information leading to the conviction of those who carried out the attack from $10,000 to $30,000. Officials from both the FBI and UCLA described the firebomb attempt as "terrorism."