Animal rights activists say they set Reno fire
By SCOTT SONNER
The Associated Press
May 27, 2009
Animal rights activists have claimed responsibility for a fire that gutted the Reno business office of a company that ships monkeys from China for scientific research in the United States and elsewhere.
Reno police and fire officials began investigating the arson claim by the Animal Liberation Front after The Associated Press sought comment about an e-mail the group circulated to media outlets and posted on a Web site.
"At this point we are looking at it as a lead," Reno police spokesman Steve Frady said Wednesday. "There is evidence of arson. At this point there is no physical evidence to link this with the group claiming responsibility," he said.
No one was injured in the fire that broke out about 4 a.m. on May 18 and caused an estimated $300,000 damage to offices of Scientific Resources International Inc. just southwest of downtown Reno, Frady said.
The North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office, which posts messages from groups taking credit for animal rights violence, said on its Web site Tuesday that it received an "anonymous communique" last week indicating ALF was claiming responsibility for the fire.
"In the early morning hours of May 18th, four incendiary devices were planted at Scientific Resources International, a supplier of non-humyn (sic) primates for use in vivisection labs all over northern Nevada," the message read. "The concept of animals existing as `resources' is utterly despicable, and we vow to do all in our power to run businesses like these into the ground."
Vivisection labs are used by scientists who experiment with animals, such as for medical research.
Frady said the building is listed as a business office and didn't believe any animals had been housed there. A man who answered the telephone listing for the office said he was the manager but declined to give his name. He said the building had been destroyed and would be unable to conduct business until it was rebuilt.
The one-story home that housed the offices in a largely residential district still smelled of smoke Wednesday. A sign identified it only as "SRI Inc." The most badly charred parts of the building were by two front doors on a large covered porch and in the rear of the building. Several holes have been boarded up.
"We are hoping the public has information that will help us to thoroughly investigate this case and determine who was responsible for setting this fire," Frady said. He said 33 firefighters were called to battle the blaze.
Frady said he wasn't aware of any other acts of violence involving ALF in the Reno-Sparks area in recent years.