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Animal rights activist convicted of contempt of court

November 7, 2008 |  1:50 pm

Pamelyn Ferdin, an activist who has protested the use of animals in scientific experiments, was convicted of contempt of court Thursday for violating an injunction against demonstrations near the homes of UCLA researchers. Times staff writer Larry Gordon reports:

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John L. Segal, who conducted Ferdin's hearing in Santa Monica, scheduled sentencing for Nov. 18, according to a court clerk.

Ferdin was found to have violated an injunction, issued in April at UCLA's request, when she demonstrated in June near the Westside homes of UCLA faculty members and distributed fliers that included scientists' home addresses and phone numbers.

Reached by telephone Thursday, Ferdin said she planned to appeal her conviction but was proud of her involvement in the protests. She said the injunction covered other people and did not name her.

"I have every right to hand out the leaflets," said Ferdin, 49, of Agoura Hills.

In cases that remain under investigation by the FBI, the homes of UCLA animal researchers have been targeted in recent years with flooding and attempted firebombing. No arrests have been made in those incidents and Ferdin said she had nothing to do with them.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said he was heartened by Thursday's court decision.

"It's important to send a message that the tactics used by anti-animal research extremists are illegal and will not be tolerated," Block said in a statement.

UCLA has said that all animals used in the university's research are treated humanely and that their use is important to find cures for disease.

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