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UCLA researcher receives threatening package; animal activists said to claim responsibility

November 23, 2010 |  3:49 pm

David JentschA UCLA neuroscientist who conducts animal research received a package with razor blades and a threatening message, a university spokesman said Tuesday afternoon.

David Jentsch, who does research on rodents and primates, received the package earlier this month, spokesman Phil Hampton said.

In  a news release issued Tuesday, the Animal Liberation Front said it had obtained statements from animal activists called “The Justice Department of UCLA,” which claimed responsibility for sending AIDS-tainted razor blades to Jentsch, whom the group alleges has injected the rodents with addictive drugs.

"How would Jentsch like the same thing he does to primates to be done to him?" the statement said.

Hampton said the incident is under investigation by the FBI and UCLA police. Activists claimed to have sent a  similar package to one of Jentsch's researchers, but there is no evidence that package was received, UCLA said.

For several years, UCLA researchers have been harassed by groups seeking to halt animal research.

In March 2009, Jentsch's vehicle was blown up outside his home, an incident for which extremists also claimed responsibility, UCLA said in a statement.

Jentsch's work, much of it funded by the National Institutes of Health, has provided key information on biochemical processes that contribute to methamphetamine addiction affecting teens and disabilities affecting speech and behavior of schizophrenia patients, UCLA said.

"Responsible use of animals in research aimed at improving the health and welfare of the mentally ill is the right thing to do," Jentsch said in  a statement. "We will continue to do so because we have a moral responsibility to society to use our skills for the betterment of the world."

[For the record 6:26 p.m: An earlier version of this post said the Animal Liberation Front had claimed responsibility for sending the razor blades.]

RELATED:

Animal activists charged with violence against UCLA researchers

Animal research rallies peaceful; pro-research demonstration much larger

Judge issues permanent injunction to protect UCLA researchers from activists

-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: UCLA professor David Jentsch at a pro-animal research rally in 2009. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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