Monday, September 23

Activists decry animal research at UCLA during annual protest


Alex Baklajian / Daily Bruin

About 50 people from animal rights groups across the Los Angeles area demonstrated at UCLA earlier today as part of an annual protest against animal research at UCLA.

The event was part of the World Week For Animals in Laboratories.

During the protest, participants gathered in front of Kerckhoff Hall and marched to the corner of Le Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard. They stopped in front of the Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, the Jules Stein Eye Institute and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior along the way, chanting phrases like “You are murderers, you are torturers.”

UCLA maintains that it engages in legal methods of animal research and plans to continue conducting animal research in the future, according to a university statement.

“Research involving laboratory animals at UCLA is heavily monitored and subject to stringent and multiple federal laws and university regulations,” the press release stated.

The animal rights protest takes place every year and has usually been centered around the argument that animal testing is unethical, according to Daily Bruin archives.

The protesters’ argument this year, however, relates to funding for animal research, said Dr. Richard McLellan, director of the California chapter of the League of Humane Voters who participated in the protest.

McLellan said the protesters do not think animal research is necessary for improvements in human health, which is why they are opposed to animal research.

“We want students to start questioning why the university is spending so much money (on animal research),” said Julia MacKenzie, West Coast coordinator of Stop Animal Exploitation Now who organized the protest.

Animal research has led to the development of lifesaving procedures and medicines and discontinuing it would diminish the hope for millions of people with AIDS, cancer, heart disease and other ailments, according to the university statement.

Compiled by Chandini Soni and Alex Baklajian, Bruin contributors.

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  • David Jentsch

    There certainly are activities going on at UCLA that are worth decrying. They include the wrong-headed and (frankly) knowingly false claims of animal rights groups that seek to malign and intentionally misconstrue the ethics and behavior of UCLA faculty and students. What is more likely? That thousands upon thousands of UCLA professors, students (from freshmen to graduate students) and staff from all walks of life are evil and immoral miscreants? Or is it more likely that 50 people that come to campus once a year to march around are wrong or (more likely) plainly lying?

    The research going on in our laboratories is life saving, revolutionary, humane and responsible. It’s the right thing to do, and one of the reasons that UCLA is so revered as an institution is because our research is making the world a better place, one day at a time. Every single day, Bruins are providing knowledge, where once there was ignorance. And they bring life, where once there was death and suffering.

    UCLA is advancing humanity in ways these individuals can neither know, nor appreciate. We acknowledge their right to march on our campus but we repudiate the irresponsibility of their lies and hateful rhetoric. Hopefully, they will someday decide to engage themselves in activities that are as right and good as that of the Bruins that work every day in laboratories on campus. For now, we should simply pity them for the fact that they live a life full of nothing but hate and ignorance.

    • Ingrid Lobben

      Mr. Jentsch, I happen to be a UCLA Psychology student, and I also happened to be one of these “50 hateful” people attending the event today. I too believe in advancing humanity, but I’d rather not harm others while doing it. It seems rather counterintuitive to me.

      • PTfS

        The mistake you are making is that, when you oppose humane and responsible animal research, you are harming others. There are many people – and animals – in need of the medical research we provide, and it is they more than any other that call for its continuation.

        • Rob

          Should we regulate it a little more? Make sure that everyone is humane as you?

          • CrouchingBruin

            Animal research is highly regulated, more than you probably realize.

    • James Phillips

      Thank you for saying this. I owe my sight in my right eye to work done by Colin Blakemore and others. I know enough about Neuroscience to realise that there was no other way that the knowledge they got could have been obtained. The cost? About twenty animals were raised in visually altered environments (no pain). The benefit? Tens of thousands of people like me have sight.

      Please trust scientists and doctors over people who understand neither medicine nor science.

      • Snow Wrighttwo

        This is scientific fraud….!! Europe has banned all animal testing for a reason…because it rarely works on humans…!! Humans react differently than animals…!! Moreover, everything tested on animal has to be retested on humans….!! Huge grants are given to University for Research and it is the reason why vivisection is still going on ….and that is it….!!

        • Dario Ringach

          “Europe has banned all animal testing for a reason…” Nonsense…

        • CrouchingBruin

          Yes, this is nonsense. There was a story just last week about how a group of animal rights activists had broken into a university research lab in Milan, Italy, freeing hundreds of lab animals, setting back years of research and wasting hundreds of thousands of euros. This lab was doing research into neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

    • Dario Ringach

      Once again, a handful of animal rights activists use their freedom of expression to showcase their ignorance.

      Having failed to convince the public on the ethical grounds of the work, this year they bring an an economic argument to the table.

      They are wrong again.

      As former congressman John Porter said — “If you think research is expensive, try disease.”

      The economic cost of taking care for our patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, addiction, depression and other neurological disease nears $1 trillion a year. That’s in the US alone and merely for neurological disorders. The entire NIH budget is a small fraction of this cost (about 3%).

      Of course, there is the cost in the tremendous human suffering for patients and their families, and our hopes that new therapies and treatments will be developed soon.

      Sadly, neither economic cost or human suffering matter to these activists.

      They deny the accomplishments of past work and rewrite medical history. They cowardly pretend there are no moral dilemmas to be faced. They conjure up conspiracy theories. They promote obscurantism and decry science.

      Finally, adding hypocrisy to ignorance, they vaccinate their animal companions and children, and readily show up at our hospital when the carrots and broccoli fail to alleviate their medical conditions.

      • Snow Wrighttwo

        What about try prevention….??

        • Dario Ringach

          Of course, NIH has plenty of prevention programs/studies as well…

        • CrouchingBruin

          There is no known effective regimen for the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is thought that there are some things that can be done to delay onset, but ultimately the patient that has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s will come down with a full-blown case.

    • Reason3

      Well said. There are so many regulations regarding animal research at UCLA, that it’s hard to argue that the animals are enduring any pain beyond what is absolutely necessary to conduct research. Pain should ALWAYS be minimized and/or avoided, but banning animal research is an incredibly ignorant thing to propose. It always blows my mind when these people come to campus.

      • Snow Wrighttwo

        Then why in the hell the whole continent of Europe banned vivisection…..?? Are they all ignorant….??

        • Dario Ringach

          They never did such a thing… They banned testing of cosmetics…

  • Kim

    Lawyers, doctors, teachers, and other concerned citizens took time out of their busy schedules to attend this event. Seeing so many intelligent, compassionate individuals volunteer their time to speak out for those who suffer behind closed doors is truly inspirational. As the public becomes increasingly educated on this issue, opinions are changing. A recent Gallup Poll found that the majority of people, aged 18-34, do NOT feel that medical testing on animals is morally acceptable. Thank you to everyone who came out today. In the future, you will be seen as the ones who were on the right side of history.

    • Jack Demolay

      Do you have pets? How about all those people you mentioned? Do any of you take them to a veterinarian to get their vaccines? How about when they’re sick? Does the vet prescribe medication for their illness? Or do you just take your chances and if the pet dies, the pet dies? How, do you suppose, all those medications and vaccines were developed?

      What about basic research? Do you know what it is?

  • Debra Simpson

    Animal research is awful and not needed. I have seen cures for cancer and other diseases in other countries. These cures will never be used in the US as long as there is so much profit being made from “fighting” the diseases and drugs.

    • DeepBlueScience

      Care to enlighten us as to what these mysterious cures are? Animal research plays a key role in developing new therapies and improving our knowledge of biology around the world, not just in the USA.

    • James Phillips

      Surprising, especially given that third world countries are routinely (rightly) complaining that they cannot afford modern, western designer cancer drugs.

  • Julia MacKenzie

    It is a shame that yet again the Daily Bruin chose to publish another biased article even though I expressly urged them not to go their historical route and actually do some research on the subject. Perhaps even abiding by the ethics of journalism as well wouldn’t be amiss. But then again they are probably subject to the same strict controls that other faculty and student groups are when trying to speak out against vivisection and are threatened by the Dean. As for Jentsch he has yet to explain how his recreational drug research, or meth as it’s commonly known, given to monkeys actually “advances humanity.” Vivisectors like to speak in wildly largesse terms but can never actually back it up with any medical advances they have made. Instead, they are the ones to stick with their old, tired inflammatory statements – it’s a mouse or your child, we’re saving humanity, animal rights people are terrorists blah blah blah. When Dr. Rich Mc Lellen was speaking I didn’t actually notice any “hateful rhetoric” or lies. Nor do i hear that from Dr. Ray Greek, Dr. Larry Hansen and the list goes on. But then again people like Jentsch refuse to debate with their peer group preferring instead to monitor press for any opportunity to call people, who can see another way for medical advancement which might actually work, hateful and ignorant. There were in fact plenty of Phd folks in our group of 50 ??? (Who came up with that number as I counted more then that. Funny when Jentsch comes out with his group of 50 the numbers seem to magically swell to 200 when the Daily Bruin reports on that! ) If your research is so valid, humane, advancing humanity then why do UCLA have to use illegal tactics to stop us from looking at your research protocols? Why does the Dean threaten student groups with expulsion if they want to exercise their freedom of speech? How come if you are working for “humanity” you all live in million dollar homes? On the contrary Jentsch, you only bring death every day of your horrible life and no amount of whining to the press will change that. When people actually see what you do they are repulsed and rightfully so. If you are so proud of your work why not film it and give that to the press. Lets see how long your million dollar taxpayer funded job lasts then.

    • DeepBlueScience

      Julia, your reply is typical of the kind of dubious rhetoric that animal rights campaigners use, though you are right that 200 people didn’t turn up at the rally Prof. Jentsch helped organize a few years ago…it was more like 800

      • Julia MacKenzie

        “800″ hahahahaha! I was there and that number is totally ludicrous and an outright lie. But then one can expect nothing less then lies from the “research” community. As for dubious rhetoric – oh please. You are masters of dubious rhetoric. Harvard just announced it is closing it’s primate lab and why, because it can’t get over the recent scandal of how they killed primates through neglect. Imperial College London.. another top university recently exposed for extreme cruelty to the mice they were experimenting on. These are top universities just like the so called esteemed UCLA who has also violated the animal welfare act. But carry on with the rhetoric of how you save everyone’s lives and can’t quite imagine a world where science could be advanced without the use of animals – probably because you are of poor intelligence – scaring people with your ridiculous assertions that nothing can be accomplished without it. All I can say is if you cannot use a computer or any of the other many, many new advances for medical research to find cures then perhaps you should go work in retail where your skills would be better suited, spinning silly lies to sell bogus goods.

        • Jack Demolay

          A computer program can not mimic the whole body system. How can it when we’re still learning how the body works? A computer can’t learn something new, it’s dependent on the information in it’s programming. You also make the oft repeated, yet still incorrect, assumption that people in animal research don’t like animals. And yet where do you think all the treatments and care for your pets came from?

          I also notice that you have to resort to rude comments about researchers because, basically, you have nothing else. If you don’t like animal research, that’s fine. No problem, just refuse any and all advances that have been, or will be, made because of it. Get cancer? Shut-up and die. Need and MRI or CT scan to look for a problem? Sorry, suck it up and deal with it. Need vaccines for various illnesses? Nope. Not you. Get in a car accident? Hope you have enough gauze in the glove compartment to stop that arterial bleeding. I have often found that once you ask animal rights people to give up the advances that have been made because of animal research, they suddenly have an excuse as to why they should be able to use them but in future advances should be banned.

          Perhaps it is you that should stick to retail, although most retail people I know still show more intelligence than you have here.

    • Dario Ringach

      Julia, is this the same Rich McLellan that associates with Rick Bogle, who famously blessed the throwing of stones through UCLA faculty windows at our homes, declaring such actions a sign of heroism?

    • Jack Demolay

      For advances, how about the recent use of firefly protein in a mouse model to study the degenerative muscle tissue caused by muscular dystrophy? Or how about the recent study that showed that Vesicular Stomatitis Virus can infect and kill human melanoma cells while showing little propensity to infect healthy cells? This used tissue samples first, which is an alternative but once it showed promise they tested it in a mouse model. Or there’s the recent discovery, using a mouse model, that a hormone called betatrophin might have role in treating Type 1 diabetes. Another mouse study has shown that injections of melatonin help delay the symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). There are just a few quick examples that you claim we never give. There are lots more. And I hate to break the truth to you, but it really does come down to a mouse or your child. There are no other alternatives that work as well as an animal model in biomedical research. If there were we’d use them because the alternatives are a lot cheaper than maintaining an animal colony. It’s outright ignorance when animal rights activists state that animal research is cheaper. It isn’t and just proves that the person making the claim is clueless to reality.

  • Rosette hoda

    David, you are notorious for your so called research! To me you are a criminal. A scary one at that. You look like Satan and I am frightened for the innocent souls you have entrapped for your own profit and wealth. God forbid somebody one day takes your monkeys away.. Would you still find time to paint your eye brows on in the morning? What would your focus be then? I think you must be like a robot, out of touch with nature, the life around you, you completely lack compassion. If they pull your grants and research money, take your subjects away… Would you then be desperate enough to experiment on your own dogs, pets? I think you would. I strongly believe you have mental problems.

    • Kate

      How is anything about this paragraph even an argument? Thanks for making this argument descend into nothing but propaganda.

  • VeganBeing

    The protesters are heroes! Unlike the UCLA “thousands and thousands” David Jentsch describes, people who advocate for the end of animal research have questioned the carnist status quo. The protesters are the “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens [who] can change the world” Margret Mead refered to in her famous quote. Many people are waking up, asking why do we sacrifice
    1000′s of non-human animal lives for a tiny bit of information that may
    or may not be applicable to the our bodies? Non-human animals were not put here for our benefit. We got lucky, evolutionarily speaking, but instead of recognizing that privilege and responsibility we create belief systems (usually grounded in religion) that place us superior to all life forms. This is a myth that is destroying our
    source: the planet and all the life on it. This mindset of dominance must stop. There are alternatives – if we placed even a small value on non-human
    animal life we would be expanding those alternatives.

    • Jack Demolay

      Name the alternatives

      • Julia MacKenzie

        Oh I’m sure we don’t know right, since we don’t agree we’re all just stupid animal lovers but John Hopkins center might have a clue, why don’t you get one.

        • DeepBlueScience

          And what makes you think that any of the techniques listed/described on the Johns Hopkins CAAT website are a replacement for the techniques being used at UCLA? The CAAT is very well known within the scientific community, and you can be sure that the scientists at UCLA would be using their techniques if they were applicable (though since the CAAT focuses on the field of regulatory toxicology this is unlikely).

        • PTfS

          It actually is worth looking at the alternatives that exist. For example, a recent major development was the creation of a test for BoTox potency that does not require living animals. This alternative was created by biomedical researchers who were looking for an option that provided the same scientific benefit of animal-based research without causing any harm to animals, and they succeeded.

          Each of the alternatives that does exist was created by a biomedical researcher who wanted to find a way to reduce animal use. So, as you can see, the hateful and ignorant rhetoric of these activists – who claim that animal researchers are opposed to using such methods – is patently false.

          In fact, despite the fact that they voice their support for alternatives, no animal rights group has ever themselves created such an alternative. They have not, to my knowledge, spent a single penny of their money supporting research into alternatives development. That work comes completely from the researchers themselves who use their own time, research funding, skills and knowledge to do so.

          Perhaps it’s time for animal rights activists to be true to their own convictions and actually directly assist in the development of alternatives so that researchers aren’t the only ones contributing to this effort.

      • VeganBeing

        Sorry, I’m not a scientist. There are some alternatives already such as the CAAT link Julia posted below. Scientific methods are invented when they NEED to be. if animal lives weren’t so expendable and “cheap”, if more researchers were like my sister who was a graduate student at UC Davis primate lab in the 90s, looking out the window at the protesters and thinking “they’re right”, the alternatives would be developed. “If there’s a will there’s a way”. That’s what we’re about: giving you motivation by making it more and more difficult to overlook the lives of animals. It’s only in a climate where it’s difficult to test on animals that non-animal alternatives will be developed.

  • Snow Wrighttwo

    David is paid by UCLA to promote their sadistic actions to keep profiting from huge grants and animal rights advocate are doing it for free…!! That should tell all…:) The whole continent of Europe just banned animal testing and the sales of products tested on animals. Why would they do that if Vivisection made sense….?? What do animal activists have to gain by promoting justice for people and animals (yes you are getting ripped off and are being lied to) ,basic rights, freedom, etc…?? We are trying to get the Truth out that the vivisectors, the big Universities (all image), the Industries (big Pharma, the Medical, big Agri, the big Corporations, big Hospitals, the government,…) are all lying to you…!! I know I worked in the Medical Industry (big HMO) for ten years. All they care about is money !! They do not care about their patients and employees. They are not trying to find cures but are trying to find pills to control your symptoms long enough so that they can profit from you during your lifetime (they have you hooked for life). North America is the most overmedicated continent on this planet…!! They also have to put out this image that Research will find a cure and keep you hoping for it when in fact they want you to stay sick and needy !! Most chronic and degenerative diseases do not have cures but plenty of pills are available to control the symptoms….!! Where is the cure for cancer…?? After all these years you would think that they’d have it by now. All this pink business (breast cancer) to keep you spending and no cure for thirty or forty years…!! But no they won’t find a cure because cancer is profitable…and the cure for it (raw organic fruits & veggies, exercise, no pesticides, no herbicides, no GMOs, no plastic, no fluoride in your toothpaste and water, no chemicals like bleach and parabens in your shampoos/conditioner, no aluminum in your deodorant, no mercury in your mouth, etc…) isn’t…!!
    Now think about it what do I have to lose by saying this….? The answer is nothing. And what does David have to lose…?? His paycheck….What do all these big Corporations, Universities, Industries, etc…have to lose…?? Their customers and lots of money.
    Now who would you trust….??

    • Jack Demolay

      You have a warped sense of medicine and research. Working for an HMO does NOT make you an expert on medical research anymore than standing in my garage makes me a car. While a “cure” for cancer has been elusive, the survival rate for those with cancer has increased dramatically. I had thyroid cancer last year. Which, by the way, has no known real cause so all your crap about your so called “cure” wouldn’t have helped. Thanks to animal research the doctors caught the cancer early (using ultrasound, developed through animal research), where able to remove the thyroid (a process developed through animal research) , and I now have to take thyroid replacement medications which, OMG, were developed through animal research.

      • Jack Demolay

        Wow, two people have actually voted down that I survived cancer. That’s a sad statement of their empathy.

        • Snow Wrighttwo

          It only has been a year….most cancers will come back in some other form….!! Especially when you don’t know what caused it….!! So I would start looking into nutritional medicine….:)

      • Snow Wrighttwo

        Your condescending tone really isn’t working in your favor…!! The survival rate…?? Of course after people have spent all of their money on toxic medicine, radiation, rehabilitation, hospitalization, and so forth….instead of focusing your research on prevention….!! Ah..but of course prevention is NOT PROFITABLE….!! My crap like you call it is natural and so is your body….maybe if you have tried it it could have worked instead of criticizing something blindly….!! But of course you are no genius….Did you actually read my text…?? Don’t you have to retest all drugs and experiments on humans anyway….?? So why test on animals then….? You think you are so smart but you are NOT….!!

  • DeepBlueScience

    Good to see that this article acknowledges the importance of animal research in developing new therapies, it shocking to see how hard working scientists are still subjected to campaigns of misinformation – and somethimes worse – by animal rights activists.
    New fields of medicine in which animal research plays a key role of course includes Neuroscience – the field in which Professor Jentsch is a leading expert – but also areas as diverse as gene therapy, stem cell medicine, tissue engineering and personalised medicine. For example, the development of embryonic, induced pluripotent, and adult stem cell techniques all depended on basic and applied animal research by scientists including James Thompson, Gail Martin, Shinya Yamanaka, Martin Evans, E. Donnall Thomas.
    It is vital for the future of medical progress that such research is properly protected and funded!

    • StrangerInAStrangeLand1

      Become a volunteer yourself if you believe that it is so important. You too can sacrifice yourself on the altar of science. Voluntarily, unlike the animals you so cavalierly offer.

  • Bill Yates

    research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of
    the last century — for both human and animal health. Some people do not want
    to acknowledge this as they receive medical treatments. Every American has a
    right to express their opinion, as long as this is done lawfully. However, they
    should be aware of their actions. If one condemns animal research, in order to
    avoid hypocrisy they should refuse medical treatments.

    • Suzie Hughes

      I do… and I have. And will continue to refuse any procedure that involves cruelty to animals.

      • CrouchingBruin

        Hopefully you’ll never need an organ transplant, then, Suzie, since the pioneering research into organ transplants were done on animals, to name just one procedure.

  • Democrat

    Did the activist at yesterday’s rally have the decency to distance themselves from past terrorist activities on UCLA campus and UCLA researchers? f they did not, can anyone believe they are interested in meaningful dialog? Did they acknowledge reality and accept scientific contributions using animal research to medical progress? Or did they prefer, as is suggested by many of the comments here, to make it easy for themselves and stick with fairy tales instead? UCLA is an institution of higher education after all.

    • Snow Wrighttwo

      Why do you think all of Europe banned Vivisection….?? Is it because it is so useful….?? Is it because Europeans are ignorants….?? I thought not….:)

      • PTfS

        Saying the same incorrect fact over and over again doesn’t make it true. There are laboratories across Europe engaged in biomedical research with both living animal models and human subjects – just like there are here. Why? Because Europe knows it is necessary, as well.

  • Suzie Hughes

    People that support animal research are cruel, heartless, sadistic zombies.. totally devoid of compassion for animals. There are other methods of conducting most research than using animals that feel pain and fear and are not put on earth to serve selfish human beings. Period. Shame on you for not putting an end of this forever. I hope there is a special hell for the people that preform these experiments where they are kept in tiny cages and subjected to the same tortures that that practiced on animals.. for all eternity.

    • Suzie Hughes

      And I would like to add that i have never received any medical procedure that required animal research in it’s format. I choose to use natural herbal and homoeopathic remedies and have remained healthy for my entire life. I also choose not to eat animal flesh either and contribute that to a healthy life. People that are cruel to animals, either in supporting animal abuse as in research or inhumane methods in the raising and slaughter of them, reap what they sow in health problems and a generally unhealthy life.

      • Paul Stein

        Good luck with herbal-homeopathic for the next few decades…if you last that long.

  • Snow Wrighttwo

    The FDA has acknowledged that 92 percent of all drugs that test safe and effective in animals are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans….!!

  • Dean Buonomano

    Humans are unique among all other members of the animal
    kingdom because of the depth and sophistication of our capacity for empathy as
    well as reason. Consequently, I believe we have the moral obligation to treat
    other sentient animals with the utmost respect and care. At the same time we
    must understand that precisely because we are clearly different from other
    animals–we humans are having a discussion of the ethics of eating cows or
    performing research on rats, not the other way around—we should not equate the
    value of a human life with that of a cow or a rat. In my opinion anyone who is
    against a doctor sacrificing a pig to harvest a heart valve to save the life of
    a human is behaving immorally. Similarly, those who argue that we should not
    attempt to advance biomedical science and cure the diseases that affect our
    siblings, parents, and children are not factoring in the neural gradient that
    permeates the animal kingdom. These discussions revolve around animals and not
    plants because animals have a nervous system. But we must remember that, the
    nervous systems of different animals are vastly different—as is the cognitive
    and emotional sophistication among the different species. As we continue to
    debate the care and use of animals for both food and research, we must remember
    that our unique cognitive abilities and emotional range give us both the
    obligation to treat animals humanely and with respect, but also reminds us that
    they are not our equals.

    • StrangerInAStrangeLand1

      Great. Why don’t you become a lab rat since you’re so invested in the research. Come back to us after 5 years of being subjected to stupid experiments that are extremely painful on a daily basis. Then you can have an opinion.