Tuesday, January 22

Submission: Researchers should be proud despite hateful activism

At UCLA, we endeavor to teach you – our students – the knowledge and skills that you will need to contribute to a better world. For many of you, the experience on campus is not complete without playing a deep role in transformational research. But in addition to your contributions to scientific exploration, we encourage you to take on the heavy duty of participating in public life to help society make important decisions based on facts and rational judgment: Should we vaccinate children? Is the Earth really warming up? Is it necessary to explore our solar system and outer space? Should we use animals in medical research? These are just a few examples.

But some people are working hard to ensure that your voice is never heard.

A recent Daily Bruin article, “Animal rights activist groups target student vivisectionists,” which was published on Oct. 23, indicates that animal rights groups are trying to target students who participate in life science and medical research at universities in the U.S. and the U.K. that involves experimentation on animals. They are opposed to this research, despite the fact that it is crucial to medical progress, well regulated and ethically justifiable. Having failed to use reason and civil debate to adequately advance their ideas with the broader public, they now quite cynically opt to offer rewards to those who expose student researchers, thereby enabling the intimidation and harassment of those identified.

Their obvious goal is to harass you out of your studies and research and to prevent the future that will lead to new therapies and cures of tomorrow.

I know their tactics well, because for more than five years, animal rights activists have worked day and night to suppress my voice and my research that deals with the causes and treatments for addictions. They firebombed my car. They sent me razor blades in the mail. They have harassed me and my loved ones with endless home demonstrations, where they scream their threats and obscenities. They want to ensure that I am unable to express my humanity, my ideas and my work. They believe their right to speak stands above those of others.

All Bruins should unanimously reject such hateful behavior. You should feel proud to be contributing to science and understand that you never need to fear exposure for selflessly engaging in essential scientific research. Like me, I am sure your friends, your family and your peers understand that you have made personal sacrifices to make sure that scientific research improves the future for all mankind. You are a good person who chooses to improve the world through science and knowledge, rather than through hatred and anger. Destruction is easy. Creation, discovery and progress can be hard.

But creation cannot be stopped.

As the famed poet Pablo Neruda once wrote:

“Podrán cortar todas las flores, pero no podrán detener la primavera.”

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

Animal rights groups may be able to prune the flowers, but they’ll never stop the surge of the spring that comes from our tireless and noble work.

Be a proud scientist.

Embrace it. Live it.

I stand with you.

Jentsch is a professor of psychology at UCLA.

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  • DeepBlueScience

    Thanks for speaking out against the hateful propaganda of the animal rights extremists David, your steadfastness is an example to us all. It’s time for researchers and students to unite to face down the lying thugs who threaten the future of medical science.


    • Guest

      Riiiiight. Nice spin, but utter bollocks.

      • dab43

        Sorry, I wrote this comment but it was supposed to go under Willie down below. It wouldn’t allow me to delete my post. Why is it these things are always noticed right AFTER pushing Send?

        • DeepBlueScience

          No worries, I posted a comment under the entirely wrong article a couple of weeks ago…it happens.

    • imapuppet

      Has speaking posted the video of their hateful aggressive threatening counter-protest led by the steadfast Jentsch on their website yet? Just curious.

  • William Evans

    There have been claims that NOAV is making threats against those that use animals in experiments. This is not the case. The purpose of ‘name and shaming’ is so people can make up there own mind about the cruelty persons are involved in and apply social pressure if they disagree with it. Read more at http://noav.org/noav-law/#sthash.lZMSDtXp.jMBFeOYL.dpbs

    • dab43

      Riiiiight. Nice spin, but I’m not buying it. That’s not at all the tactics of animal rights groups.

      • William Evans

        There is a broad spectrum of animal rights groups.

        • dab43

          Were I you, I’d be concerned that the likes of Camille Marino is siding with your actions. It’s akin to having ISIS support you.

          • William Evans

            As far as I am aware Camille Marino has not beheaded anyone like ISIS has. In any case she is in the USA and we are in the UK, she is not involved with our campaign.

          • Julia MacKenzie

            What has Marino got to do with any of this? Are YOU responsible for every vivisectors action? If not than how is anyone responsible for what another activist did or said? Marino is on the East Coast and to my knowledge has never even been to UCLA or had anything to do with it. You are using her like some kind of activist boogey man. And, of course, more attempts to distract from the real issue which is the fraudulent useless animal experiments that are conducted at UCLA.

    • DeepBlueScience
    • Dario Ringach

      You claim that you merely want to shame and students for the work they do. If you are so proud of your “activism”, why don’t you show your face and tell us who you are “William Evans”? Then people will be able to make up their own mind as to what you really stand for and may “apply social pressure if they disagree” with you.

      • William Evans

        I am William Evans, Leeds. UK.

        • Dario Ringach

          And I am Leo Messi, Barcelona, España.

      • Julia MacKenzie

        Maybe it’s because people like YOU use pressure, power over and connections to suppress activism – like making a public university OFF grounds for protest unless you have a permit. Like using your legal connections with judges to refuse to allow public information to be released. Like using your connections to have 100 arbitrary restraining orders active at UCLA so that anyone who just shows up could have their names added and be arrested. Like using political connections to enforce a oppressive law like the AETA. Like threatening students and staff alike with expulsion if they oppose vivisection. Like barring the doors to official inspectors trying to get in the labs … and on, and on, and on. We would show our faces Ringach but the fact is you would have us arrested for it just so you can carry on your money spinning fraudulent experiments.

    • dab43

      So you’d be fine with me saying, “I’ve looked at your information and that of the scientists and I’ve decided, based on my readings, that I support the use of animals in research.” Somehow I’m thinking that wouldn’t be OK with you or those in your group.

      • William Evans

        Yes that is fine with us. We would simply disagree.

        • Alastor

          Sadly, William Evans, too many of the ‘activists’ over here in the ex-colonies are partial to violently destroying the experiments-in-progress – so that they can feel good at the expense of others … their efforts go in to destruction, not into building a better mouse-trap that *doesn’t* need actual mice to develop it …

  • Felix Schweizer

    Thank you David for standing up – yet again! – against this despicable campaign!

  • laurelladesborough

    David Jentsch, I am thankful for your courage and your dedication to animal research. It is undoubtedly difficult to deal with the constant threats from the animal rights radicals, but the work in which you and others are involved is extremely important to the human race. Thank you for your dedication. I am proud of UCLA for supporting animal research in the face of domestic terrorism by these radicals.

  • Marcella Covault

    Thank you, David, for speaking out. You should be proud, as should those courageous individuals who are determined to help mankind through appropriate animal research. You have a lot of supporters, though sometimes the *minority* sociopathic animal rights attackers may make it seem that you don’t. YOU DO HAVE SUPPORT from the majority of people.

    • Julia MacKenzie

      “Appropriate” hahahahaha! What is appropriate about using millions of taxpayers dollars to addict monkeys and mice to methamphetamine. What is “appropriate” about using big tobaccos money to addict animals to nicotine. “Sociopath” ?? You need to look up the dictionary definition of the term and there you will find the likes of Ringach and Jentsch. Meanwhile, a growing percent of the population actually DON’T support this kind of torture.

      • Marcella Covault

        Most sane people today understand the necessity of animal research and would NOT want to have the diseases that have been conquered through animal research visited on society. A tiny minority not in favor has grown to a still small minority who have become obnoxiously vocal and anti-societal in their condemnation of our society.

        Reminds me of an old and wise saying by Thomas Paine that should be remembered today: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

        • Julia MacKenzie

          So the following people who all oppose vivisection are insane are they? Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Gandhi, Prof. Henry Bigelow (Harvard) Queen Victoria, Lewis Carroll and the women who started the anti-vivisection movement, Frances Power Cobbe who wrote a paper that inspired a law to allow women the right to keep their children and divorce a violent husband, Louise Lind-af Hageby whose testimony was called the most brilliant piece of advocacy ever known by The Nation and Caroline Earl White who spoke four languages and Anna Kingsford who trained to be a Doctor at a time when it was illegal in her own country – all insane were they? You clearly do not know what you are talking about and are deliberately using inflammatory language based on zero facts. The diseases that have been conquered have NOT been conquered due to animal experimentation but more due to hygiene and better standards of living and nutrition. In a recent survey 43% of people oppose vivisection but i guess they are all insane are they? And the men you are talking about who addict monkeys to meth and nicotine, engage in maternal deprivation studies to endeavor to decipher depression in traumatized infants, pour toxic chemicals down beagels throats, use the LD50 test on rabbits to test cosmetics, this is all your much needed animal experiments is it? The only people here who have renounced the use of reason are idiots like you and the vivisectionists.

          • Marcella Covault

            Not only are you throwing out red herrings, you are resorting to name calling. So typical. FAIL.

          • Julia MacKenzie

            What ARE you talking about “red herrings”?? Nothing of the sort if you actually knew anything about what you are talking about. You clearly don’t. So it’s ok for you to be patronizing, sarcastic and call people who actually have a heart to insane but not ok for me? Typical hypocrisy coming from the other side. If you are SO clever please argue with FACTS and not hyperbole.

          • Marcella Covault

            Hysterical FAIL, with major insecurity issues and childish tantrums thrown in! Makes Paine’s quote all the more relevant.

          • Julia MacKenzie

            What ARE you talking about Marcella?? Clearly you have lost the plot or are Jentsch in disguise. As I said please post ACTUAL facts and not argumentative, vague insults. Oh yea … I forgot you are pro animal experiments so all you have is argumentative vague insults.

  • Peter Kalmus

    This reads like a propaganda piece. While I absolutely don’t condone the hateful tactics of the activists described by the author, and while I’m pro-science, this piece sets up a destructive dualism, and is in itself hateful. I also don’t think stating that the research is “well-regulated” or “subject to multiple stringent federal laws” (Chancellor Block’s words) is meaningful, as the animal research subjects themselves are outside of our legal system. Maybe both sides of this argument have some part of the truth.

    • Alastor

      Peter Kalmus – if you were *actually* aware of what goes on in animal-model research at institutions like UCLA, you would be aware that the regulations involved are remarkably stringent … the animal research subjects are very much within our legal and regulatory system …

      “sets up a destructive dualism” has the ring of propaganda in and of itself … is that your intent, to be ironic ?

      • Swab Trash

        Thank you Peter for your poignant comment. It is surely a destructive, unproductive dualism to say you can either be FOR or AGAINST science when it comes to animal use. Well-regulated? Not if you are a lab animal specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act…if you are blinded by the propaganda that ignores the overwhelming failures of animal models, then you wouldn’t question his “unique perspective.” Surely animal models revealed many things when science was primitive- but our society is far beyond best guesses and can do so much better than addicting poor primates to whatever Jentsch is funded to addict them to these days. He even admitted in the L.A. Times that he gives his vervet monkeys PCP and other chemicals to induce the destructive psychological symptoms then studying their brains, yet he claims he and his students treat them lovingly. Absolute hypocrisy.

        Alastor before you make assumptions- I was forced to work in animal labs as an undergrad to gain ‘experience,’ which forced me to leave biomedical research in disgust. To responsibly torture animals for research there is little more than a checklist and if you nominally claim all the items in that checklist you get through. My favorite was the comment box at the end of the submission form, can’t remember the exact phrase but basically: “Please list keywords of web searches for alternatives to using animals in this research, to justify why animals must be used.” Self policing at its best. UCLA refuses to publicly address animal research violations, instead animal rights groups must request them via FOIA. Why do they have anything to hide, if all is so spotlessly clean and happy in Vivisectionland?

        • dab43

          I realize I’m late to the comments, but if you truly worked in a animal research facility as an undergrad then you clearly didn’t learn much while there. While specific some mice and rats are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act, you should be aware that it isn’t the only regulation in play. The PHS Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals covers “any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research training, experimentation, or biological testing or for related purposes.” I would think you would have also learned that 95% of the animals in research are rodents. And unless you were particularly bad at your job, you’d know that those caring for the animals truly care about their welfare. Maybe not you so much, but most do.

          • Swab Trash

            Buzz off dab43, you are in over your head, come back when you can contribute something meaningful to the discussion. Primates are a whole other discussion, but one of the most obvious problems here, as you stated, is that “specific some [sic] mice and rats are excluded from the AWA…95% of the animals used in research are rodents.” Without federal protection from inhumane treatment under AWA (hardly enforced by the USDA anyway), hundreds of millions of animals are tortured and sacrificed annually with little more than the PHS guideline of self-appointed reviewers making up an IACUC committee. There is an obvious conflict of interest when an institution regulates itself, especially in light of the fact that the “NIH will not fund research that uses animals if the IACUC has not given its approval to the proposed study.” The IACUC exists to help you get your study approved by rewording your procedures. The UCLA Animal Research Committee also makes recommendations to reduce suffering in print, but not necessarily in reality. Sure there are standardized anaesthetic protocols and analgesics like carprofen, though some of the most grotesque and painful surgical procedures are only inspected initially by one of their understaffed veterinarians, without further consistent oversight.

            The animal handling training was an absolute joke, with only an online module, a short lecture and a couple brief handling sessions. I am very
            gentle with all animals and was very careful, but I saw the majority of participants haphazardly grabbing the mice and constricting their breathing by
            holding them too tightly while nervously attempting to inject them without getting bitten. That’s what disturbed me the most, not my own brief
            complicity, but witnessing others ignorantly harming the animals. Most of the vivisectors-in-training had no regard for these living, breathing, social
            creatures, treating them simply as objects: specimens from which to harvest data for their publications and dissertations, or simply pay their
            salary. I was aghast at their absence of compassion, and the veterinarians’ lack of concern. It’s just mistreatment rebranded as
            standardized best practices. And this is the industry convention, it’s dreadfully disappointing.

            Sure, there are people like me who love animals and strive to minimize their suffering after willfully inducing horrible disfigurement and disease, but in the end
            this quality of care can’t be truly maintained due to the sheer volume of animals and stress of budgets and deadlines (hmmm, us humans suffer this
            too). This stress has a numbing effect and you are forced to just GET THE WORK DONE, quickly and efficiently, to meet your targets, which can lead to
            neglect of basic care. Tell me this isn’t true, there are FOIA reports to prove it, I’ve held them in my own hands, sharpie-redacted and all. What evidence do you have?

            Yeah, nice try with your weak-ass insults, you must be a pre-med freshman, or maybe you never went to college because you don’t know how to properly
            construct or defend an argument? Oh right, you’re just defending an ideology, irrationally maintaining a viewpoint despite objective evidence to the
            contrary. The scientific method is about accepting new information, no matter how upsetting it is personally to the scientist, and adapting
            accordingly rather than clinging to obsolete methodology and a self-serving perspective. Animal research should be phased out, it is expensive, unreliable,
            unnecessary, and inherently inhumane to confine animals and subject them to pain social/environmental deprivation, and still expect reliable results.
            >30% of clinical trials fail in humans because FDA mandated testing on animals overestimates their effectiveness and safety. Non-human hosts are often
            poor indicators of drug performance and toxicity in humans, yet the sham continues. Insisting on torturing animals because you believe it is
            “progress” is sick and misguided. They may have informed science when only crude research techniques were available centuries ago but our society has
            developed more precise, appropriate, and cheaper methods which entrenched interests are slow or resistant to adopt. Think about it- animal husbandry is a
            multibillion dollar industry, especially with requisite FDA drug testing, so the animal research lobby (including biomedical research universities like
            UCLA) is extremely powerful and intent on maintaining the status quo, and their profits, easily out-campaigning those advocating for alternatives and the 3Rs. And yet Jentsch and his cronies think they
            are the victims in this lopsided “battle,” to maintain their medieval torture chambers (now with deluxe rat chow and clipboards!)??? Gimme a break.

            ‘Animal models differ from their human counterparts. Conclusions drawn from animal research, when applied to human disease are likely to delay progress, mislead and do harm to the patient’
            ‘The claim that we owe most , if not all of our advances in medicine to animal research is not only untrue, but also preposterous and absurd – an outright lie’

            Moneim A Fadali, MD, FACS,
            Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon, USA,
            Co-Founder and President, Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine,
            Author, Animal Experimentation – A Harvest of Shame.

          • dab43

            See, now I know you’re talking out of your fourth point of contact. So what are the “more precise, appropriate, and cheaper” methods that can mimic the complexity of a whole body system? You’re comment about the 30% of clinical trials failing is precisely why we need animal testing. How would you weed out the high percentage of drugs that fail the animal testing? Maybe we could just skip the animal testing and go straight from developing the drug to testing on humans. Hey, so what if a bunch die, at least an animal was spared?

            I’m not a college student or someone who never went. I’m someone with a Master’s degree who has worked in this industry for many years which is why I KNOW what you say is absolute crap. Every institution has a means of anonymously reporting animal abuse. In your time as an all-knowing undergrad did you ever once report this abuse you claim to have seen? Did you make any effort? If not then you’re part of the problem. And if you think I can’t defend a position you ought to go back and reread your comments above. You’re arguments are merely rehashing of old animal rights mantra that has been disproved time and again.

            And what type of narcissistic person up-votes their own comments?

          • Julia MacKenzie

            Thank you!

          • Alastor

            Swab Trash – with all due respect, are you aware of Nature, and the brief and brutish life led by rodents and other small predators and small non-predators who are low on the pecking order in Life ?

            Are you aware that most animal researchers are scientists who both believe in and practise the genuine scientific method ? (and do *not* respect “consensus science”, that ‘wu wu’ substitute in the media for real falsifiable replicable observable repeatable science) … And most of those researchers would happily use models based upon tissue samples if there was a way to keep those tissue samples viable and behaving in the way that those same tissues behave in the whole animal …

            It is easy to destroy – and much harder to create … sadly, animal ‘activists’ are happy to put effort into destroying useful animal models while not choosing, apparently, to put energy into creating equally useful, equally valid alternative models …

            So – rather than continuing to try to make yourself feel good at the expense of the researchers, how about you work with your friends and colleagues to come up with models which the researchers can use which will perform at least as well as the current animal models ?

      • Peter Kalmus

        Alastor, the fact is, the piece is dualistic. It portrays the researchers as heroic, and the activists as villains, and uses what I think are transparently rhetorical techniques to do this. I’m just pointing that out. Also, I really don’t think anyone can argue that our legal system isn’t biased towards humans. I’m not necessarily saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying that appeals to our legal system don’t seem particularly germane to a nonhuman rights issue. I don’t consider myself an activist, and I recognize the moral complexity of this issue, but I was struck by the tone of this particular piece and the irrelevant appeal to authority.

  • Julia MacKenzie

    This really gave me a good belly laugh. It not only seems like propaganda it IS propaganda. Unfortunately, the Daily Bruin is owned lock, stock and barrel by the university, which is a horrible conflict of interest, unlike most university papers, so are forced into printing propaganda like this. Apparently, threatening students in animal groups like Bruins for Animals with expulsion if they dare to question vivisection isn’t as bad as people asking for whistleblowers to come forward if they see animal cruelty in the labs. AND if there is no animal cruelty going on and the oversight of the experiments is so great what are you so worried about? Nothing that Jentsch or his cronies do in their labs will ever bare any fruition for the human race and to think that addicting monkeys to nicotine or meths will is absurd. “Lying thugs” hahahahaha! Who are the lying thugs here if not the people who, on a daily basis subject monkeys and other animals to horrific acts of torture and make money out of it. Monkeys whose parents at least have been ripped from the wild and forced into breeding facilities to have their young forcibly taken from them and shipped in horrific conditions to places like UCLA or their breeding facility. And as for regulations being stringent !!! WHO ARE you trying to kid? UCLA has been cited multiple times for violations of the animal welfare act including trying to stop federal investigators from entering the labs.

  • Julia MacKenzie

    Watch here to see Jentsch and his cronies on one of his better days and those “horrible” animal rights activists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiECGuXixmQ around 2:55 it starts getting really interesting – is that vodka in your bottle Edythe?

    • David

      Thank you for sharing this, Julia. How is this person still employed at UCLA? And how is the Chancellor supporting him? Truly a sad day to be a Bruin.

      • Julia MacKenzie

        This is David Jentsch, Edythe London and their “friends” – researchers at UCLA who run the addiction program. The Chancellor is an ex animal experimenter himself and supports them. He recently released a statement endorsing them and vivisection.

  • Kim Bourland

    This is experimentation that seems to be playing out repeatably time and again. Use the funds for REAL medical research like what UC Irvine is doing for ALS. These primate experimentors needs to retire and make room for the real doctors that can use technology instead of diddling away with monkey’s brains and wasting tax-payer money. Step aside David et all. Time to progress.


  • Swab Trash

    Just so you all know about the historical manipulation of the animal welfare act and the blatant
    intent to weaken regulation of animal research… In 2002 it was amended to exclude birds, rats and mice, thus sanctioning medical research that inflicts pain and suffering on hundreds of millions of lab animals each year. Here is a fascinating analysis published by MSU College of Law, exposing the influence of the entrenched animal research lobby:


    “Subsequently, another suit was brought to challenge the exclusion of birds,
    rats, and mice, and a federal district court, citing the en banc D.C. Circuit
    case, denied the Department of Agriculture’s motion to dismiss for lack of
    standing. [75] As a result, the Department of Agriculture settled the case by agreeing to revise its
    regulations to include birds, rats, and mice. [76] Then Congress intervened, and, in the
    Department of Agriculture appropriations for fiscal year 2001, prohibited
    FY2001 funds from being used to “modify the definition of ‘animal’ in existing
    regulations pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act.” [77] The FY2002 appropriations contained
    effectively the same prohibition, [78] and then Congress amended the Animal
    Welfare Act to exclude birds, rats, and mice bred for research. [79]

    Why had the Secretary of Agriculture excluded birds, rats, and mice from coverage? In the 1992 federal district court case that found the exclusion arbitrary and capricious, the Department of Agriculture
    said that it had “considered the number of animals involved, the resources
    available, and the approximate cost of regulation.” [80] The court’s response to this claim was that
    “birds, rats, and mice could be included in the definition without requiring
    the expenditure of significant agency resources.” [81] As the court noted, the cost of enforcing
    the law was not relevant:

    The court recognizes that enforcement of these regulations would require
    some expenditure of agency resources. Yet even without any active agency enforcement, the inclusion of rats, mice and birds under the Act would send an important message to those
    responsible for their care–that the care of these animals is something for
    which they are legally accountable and is an important societal
    obligation. This message is much more consistent with the purposes of the Act than the current message the exclusion of these animals conveys: that the researchers may subject birds, rats, and
    mice to cruel and inhumane conditions, that such conduct is sanctioned by the
    Government and has no legal consequences. [82]

    In any event, the Secretary’s purported concern with the cost of policing the treatment of birds, rats, and
    mice must be viewed in light of the fact that “Agriculture officials lobbied in
    support of cuts in the program, but Congress has refused to go along. In this fiscal year [1985], for example, the USDA requested $3.65 million for animal welfare, but Congress retained last
    year’s $4.86 million.” [83] As one commentator put it, “the USDA has never wanted to enforce the animal welfare program.” [84]

    The 2002 amendments also directed the National Research Council, by May 13, 2003, to submit to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees “a report on the implications of including rats, mice, and birds within the definition of animal under the regulations promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.).” [85] No report has been prepared. [86]”


    Despite UCLA’s heavy handed defense of animal research, the campus has it’s own Animal Law Society headed by Prof. Taimie Bryant and her colleagues. So until UCLA can undo tenure, she and her students, and many in the UCLA community, will continue to reject the status quo of the vivisection industrial complex and advocate for our fellow animals who have no voice under the law.