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Animal research rallies peaceful; pro-research demonstration much larger

Competing rallies at UCLA today over the controversial issue of animal research are peaceful so far, with supporters of the research appearing to outnumber opponents by more than 10 to 1.

About 400 people, including UCLA faculty, staff and students, have joined a pro-research rally on the northwest corner of Westwood Boulevard and Le Conte Avenue, just south of the campus. The demonstrators are carrying signs with such slogans as "Animal research saves lives" and "Campus terrorism is not OK."

As numerous police officers stood by, the pro-research group briefly traded slogans across Westwood Boulevard with a smaller, rival rally of about 30 animal rights activists on the intersection’s northeast corner. Opponents of the research contend that UCLA scientists ignore the suffering of primates and other animals used in the experiments.

Two men in monkey suits were among the animal rights demonstrators; one wore chains and climbed into a cage to simulate the captivity of the animals in UCLA’s laboratories.

The animal rights activists, who were marking an annual observance of World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week, eventually moved away, toward the campus, where they were expected to continue their rally and hear speeches.

The pro-research rally was organized by a new group, UCLA Pro-Test, which supports what it calls the humane use of animals in research aimed at finding cures for human diseases. The group is also protesting a series of unsolved arsons and vandalism at UC faculty homes and vehicles over the past three years.

Among likely speakers at the pro-research event is UCLA neuro-scientist J. David Jentsch, whose car was set ablaze and destroyed last month and who then organized the Pro-Test group. Jentsch uses monkeys in his research on schizophrenia and drug addiction, and although he kills some for postmortem exams, he says the animals do not suffer.

The FBI announced today that the reward offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible in the attack against Jentsch had been increased to $75,000.

-- Larry Gordon

Related:

UCLA braces for competing rallies on animal research

 
Comments () | Archives (38)

UCLA Pro-Test is but one step of many in educating the community on the merits of humane animal research. I think today's rally provides a positive sign of change to come in the freedom of the pursuit of knowledge and scientific research.

Apparently the hippies were too hungover from Monday.

If you have an artifical knee and/or hip, or if you have a family member or friend whose lives have been improved by such transplant operations, please keep in mind that these medical advances began with animal research. Early research began with large dogs that were young and in good health except for serious hip abnormalities. These were dogs that were soon to be 'put-down' because of their medical problem. In an effort to save their lives Vet colleges transplanted artifical hip joints into these dogs and soon perfected the operation to the point that the dogs lives could be saved. I saw this when I was a student at Colorado State Univ.in 1958. Other schools worked on the same procedure (experimented if you will) and their findings led to the wonders of artifical joints in humans that we take for granted today.

I am so proud to be a part of the Pro-Test for science and research today! Animal research saves lives and I am glad the UCLA community got together to stand up to the crazy animals rights bullies! TERRORISM IS NOT OKAY!!!!!!!

How is it remotely humane to get monkeys addicted to meth or heroin? What are you going to learn about the human mind that way?

There is a third, unheard voice here, which says Humane and Scientific testing of animals is necessary, but this type of testing is not. Any minor amount of scientific information that could be garnered from this type of testing was done in the 60's.

These scientists are delusional if they think otherwise.

"There is a third, unheard voice here, which says Humane and Scientific testing of animals is necessary, but this type of testing is not. Any minor amount of scientific information that could be garnered from this type of testing was done in the 60's."

This is so incorrect as to be laughable. There is information about how drugs work (both drugs of addiction and drugs used as medication) that cannot possibly be gleaned from work in human subjects (unless you advocate dissecting their brains).The ONLY way to develop new treatments for mental illnesses, and so many other disorders, is through regulated, organized, officially sanctioned animal based research. If we know so much from the 60's why do people still get schizophrenia? You can bet the government has a vested interest in curing it- do you have any concept of how much money these diseases cost our health care system precisely because adequate treatments do not currently exist? There is no cover up going on here. There is additional work to be done to help cure these devastating illness, and this work requires research animals. Thank goodness animal researchers are willing to toil to help you, your family, and everyone else who has ever needed or will need medical care.

1. I've never met a person in favor of animal testing who would be willing to donate their own dogs or cats for the kinds of experients that go on at UCLA? 2. If withdrawal from Meth and other drugs weren't a painful experience for humans what is the need to test on primates? In this day and age it is wrong to inflict psychological and physical suffering on any animal in the name of science. I might add that it's no surprise the Pro-Test group was larger. It was their turf, they were excused from the office to counter-protest, and without those labs they'd be out of jobs.

Joe,

Using animals in drug addiction studies is actually quite insightful into the human issue of drug addiction because the structure of a primate's brain is, with little difference, very similar to that of a human. As such, by observing addictive behaviors in primates (and analyzing how the brain reacts to such stimulants) it is possible to understand how humans also develop addictive behaviors and in what ways we may go about preventing such a disorder on the genetic and pharmacological level. Unfortunately, when it comes to the brain, direct research is necessary. The human brain is the MOST sophisticated natural computer in existence; our technology is not there yet to completely model and predict the brain without direct access to it in animals.

In terms of the ethical treatment of animals during research, please check out UCLA's website concerning just that. The Chancellor's Animal Research Committee (ARC) was established for the sole purpose of protecting all research subjects at UCLA. The sections on policies, alternative research, inspections, and veterinary care are all relative to this thread.

http://oprs.ucla.edu/animal/#

If people are stupid enough to use drugs or smoke cigarettes I don't see why animals have to suffer for it.

Joe, you say that a scientist would have to be delusional to think that research in methamphetamine addiction using monkeys could possibly be useful. I'm curious, where did you do your graduate work? Since you're apparently qualified to judge the quality and importance of the work of these top UCLA scientists, I'm assuming you must have a doctoral degree in neurobiology or neuroscience. I'm a little confused as to how you managed to get an advanced degree in such a field without doing animal research, but somehow you must have done it. You should publish some articles in peer-reviewed journals letting all the other neurobiology researchers know why their work is useless and they are delusional, I'm sure they'd be happy to hear the results of what I take to be the years of study that have gone into forming your earth-shattering conclusions.

Want to show your support for medical progress? UCLA Pro-Test and other groups now have an online petition available at www.raisingvoices.net. It supports research scientists and denounces acts of violence by animal rights extremists.
Sign and become part of this important cause!

James,

I've never met such a person, either, but I don't suspect you ever will. Why? Nobody denies that one part of animal research often includes putting the animal down in order to study what has happened. In fact, it is often necessary because, at least at UCLA, there are strict limitations on how far along an animal may be used in an experiment in order to protect it from trauma and pain. They use the same procedures veterinarians use to quickly and painlessly put down an animal. If you visit the ARC website you will find detailed information about their guidelines and limitations.

I would also like to remind you that psychological and physical harm have been used among and between humans for thousands of years for much less noble causes. Have you ever verbally harassed someone? Cussed at someone? Have you ever slapped someone or hit them on the head or tripped someone? Whether through frustration, mockery, anger, or inebriation, it does not matter. While I am not implying you have done these things, it is undeniable that other people have to one another.

In terms of the large numbers at the protest...many people flew and drove in from out of town to attend the protest. The show of support was from a nationwide community, not just UCLA faculty and students.

Dear jose gomez,
The "hippies", as you call animal right activists, were probably at work on Wednesday morning.
That is why I did not show up at the rally. I do not drink, not even recreationally, and work my butt off every day at a law firm.
Mocking animal lovers like you do just reinforces my opinion, and that of many others, that people like you are just a waste of space on this earth.
Regards.

"Jentsch uses monkeys in his research on schizophrenia and drug addiction, and although he kills some for postmortem exams, he says the animals do not suffer."

Then run the test on people. Is it so hard to see that monkeys, who do not get addicted to drugs on their own, are inappropriate models for this type of research?

Why should animals die cruel deaths because of tweekers? An animal, especially a monkey with its highly developed brains and social structures, should not be put to the sword for a lowly tweeker. This is absurdity not science.

Let the scientists decide the merit of the research, please.

Here's the deal -- every animal testing study performed by respectable researchers at institutions like UCLA and the NIH is aimed at saving lives in the future. Perhaps you believe that these animals' involuntary servitude is NOT worth the thousands and millions of human lives their research contribution will help to save. But at the very least, it is not as simple as, "all animal research is evil and morally wrong." In peer review of grants funding such research, the granting agency takes great care to ensure that the benefits of the study outweigh the costs, and they consider animal suffering and death as considerable cost. Animal research studies have already been held to a high standard before they are performed.

The other thing you all need to realize is what in your life has been made better by animal testing. Not just cosmetics (which in my mind should not be tested on animals!), but a huge number of medical advances were made possible by prior testing on animals. It's one thing to be against animal testing, but it's another to hold that position yet willingly take medications that were once upon a time tested on animals.

James "I might add that it's no surprise the Pro-Test group was larger. It was their turf, they were excused from the office to counter-protest, and without those labs they'd be out of jobs."

People went because they wanted to support their colleagues and friends who'd been attacked by terrorists. I came in from Santa Monica, and saw several friends who had come across town from USC. We outnumbered the other group, because we cared enough to show up.

i fail to see how making a captive animal cower and scream is humane (but i'm sure cheney and bush could)...certainly some human out there is clever to come up with non-traditional, alternative methods to protect our non-human animal friends...where are you?

On my way to class, today, I stopped to check-out the "anti-" rally on campus, and I didn't encounter the "crazy animal-rights bullies" or "violent extremists" suggested by some on this blog. (Perhaps they were there, but I didn't find them in the 30 or so minutes I stopped.) What I did find was a lot of seemingly well-meaning, peaceful intelligent people getting off their butts trying to right that which they see as not only wrong, but cruel as well. Seems to me the world would be a better place if more would do the same. Where, specifically, were the "pro-" people mentioned? I didn't see them on campus.

I stopped. I looked. I listened. (Rightly or Wrongly) I learned: violence is not an acceptable answer; animal research labs are secretive & opaque places; it's not just rats being used in research labs; research labs are welcoming and forthcoming concerning their endeavors; science is defined as producing predictable results, and, therefore experiments done on animals are not scientific because they do not accurately predict results on human animals; researchers treat their animals humanely (as they would a human?), the UCLA chancellor is policing the situation; a lot of research being done is repetitive yet highly-profitable; current animal-research methods are used because they are well-understood (traditional) and easier than using—apparently—one's brain to devise another way

Conclusion: I'm currently swaying to the anti-animal research side, and I'd like to thank UCLA for providing a forum.

BUT GO USC!!!!!!!!

The most interesting comment I heard today was animal-researchers are expected to "cross the line" early in their training to desensitize them to an animal's well-being. Anyone know if this is true? It was somehow tied to the experiences of combat veterans (something about not, ever, being able to come back from a kill because your old self is left behind)

How many of these students and others were offered extra credit to show up at this rally rather than be in class? Quite a lot I'll betcha.

As a molecular geneticist I find the UCLA position laughable. I can say that because I'm not on their payroll and I'm not dependent on a grade from someone who has never actually held a job outside of a classroom.

chimpanzees have 98 and a half percent of our same DNA, they are closer genetically to us than to the next in line, gorillas, this revealing that there is no big dividing line between animals and humans, we are connected, they feel, they suffer, they do not deserve to be treated in such a radically different way than we treat humans...restrained, injected with drugs and chemicals, killed, it's disgusting, it's reprehensible,, i am so disheartened by the pro test group, which did not, by the way, outnumber the animal supporters 10 to 1, and i am surprised at the ignorance of some, who when asked today if they liked animals, said "no".......we ARE animals, with just a few degrees of separation from those that we torture and kill...happily many students were receptive and disgusted, several engaged in conversation and asked questions, and seem to understand education in a broader sense than the technocrats, who have no real vision and no connection to other life on this planet....finally, i'm against violence, i don't kill any thing, i feel bad if i accidentally step on a snail, the pro test group's signs of "stop the terrorists", "stop the hatred" were ridiculous, the hatred is inflicted in the labs...there are humans with less cognition, because of brain damage, etc, than the animals that are tortured in the ucla labs, why not experiment on them, and if ucla has nothing to hide, why not invite the media in when ever, and with full access and let them document what's done in secret...

How about scientists studying reactions to drugs on humans instead of using non-human primates? During World Week for Laboratory Animals in 1988, researchers claimed the cures for cancer and heart disease were right around the corner? 21 years later - where are we? UCLA and UCI have the public fooled into thinking their research studies are germane to people, when really, they are studying behaviors and effects of drugs and diseased-induced animals. What a shame that these institutions stand for scientific fraud. It's simple; we will never find answers to our questions or cures for human diseases when we keep studying animals.

Regarding the comment that the pro-research protest group was larger because it was on "home turf". I agree, if you define "home turf" as a civilized society of rational people.

One of the positives to come out of the anti-research protest movement is that it's not just the lunatics on the extreme right that are anti-science and anti-rational thinking. You liberals have your own fringe extremists that bear watching.

Would we love a cure for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimers, or drug addiciton? Of course. If I had a child with an incurable disease, would I want to do anything and everything I could to save her life? Absolutely. However, that does not give me the right to torture animals who feel pain and suffer as much as any human. It doesn't matter if animal experimentation is beneficial to humanity. That is not the point. The point is that it is inhumane and has no place in a civilized society.

Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character. ~George Bernard Shaw

Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are like us." Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction. ~Charles R. Magel

 
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