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Students protest against animal research at UCLA

By Daily Bruin Staff

April 24, 1997 9:00 p.m.

Friday, 4/25/97 Students protest against animal research at UCLA
Activists claim researchers handle subjects with unnecessary

By Mason Stockstill Daily Bruin Contributor Representatives from
four major anti-animal research groups convened at Meyerhoff Park
for a rally Thursday in an attempt to expose the animal
experimentation that takes place at UCLA. Activists holding signs
with pictures of mutilated cats and dogs calmly passed out flyers
to passersby in what was a peaceful rally despite its strong stance
against current UCLA policy. "UCLA has been torturing animals for
no good reason," claimed Bill Dyer, a representative of In Defense
of Animals. Protesters claimed that researchers at UCLA have been
performing experiments on animals that involve drowning, shocking,
blinding and eventually killing the animals in question. "The only
reason that these experiments are performed in the first place is
because UCLA gets 50 cents for every grant dollar that is awarded
to researchers here," said Jack Carone, a representative of Animal
Emancipation. Grants for such experiments were received from the
federally funded National Institutes of Health (NIH), a department
of the federal government, among other sources, Carone said.
Protesters singled out UCLA professor of physiology Michael Chase,
claiming that he has performed numerous experiments on animals
while at UCLA. These experiments reportedly included embedding
electrodes in cats’ brains and drilling holes in their heads – all
at the taxpayers’ expense. Neither Chase nor any of his laboratory
staff were available for comment. "The reason that the NIH
continues to fund this research, even though it is clearly of no
benefit to humans, is because the NIH is pro-animal research.
They’re just keeping the industry alive," Carone said. Performance
artist Rachel Rosenthal was on hand to condemn the practice of
animal research, likening the use of animals for medical research
to the Holocaust. "Millions of animals are killed in laboratories
each year," Rosenthal claimed. "When the president is apologizing
to victims of chemical and nuclear weapons testing, who is going to
apologize to all the animals?" Rosenthal was adamant in her claims
that animals should not be experimented on in such ways because
they are fundamentally no different than humans. "Who gave us the
right to say that we can do this to other species? We are all
animals," she declared. But according to information presented in a
brochure condemning the experimentation, animal research opponents
claimed that such work is not applicable to humans, because humans
and animals are so different. UCLA faculty disputed many of the
claims made by the protesters, noting that such work is strictly
regulated by the government. "Experimentation is controlled by
federal guidelines, and is also very closely watched by the Animal
Research Committee (ARC)," said Jerome Zack, an HIV researcher at
the Medical Center. The ARC, which supervises the use of animals
being used for research at UCLA, is comprised of administrators and
faculty members who periodically review animal research on campus.
"We’re constantly filling out paperwork, and always checking to be
sure that we don’t break the guidelines established," Zack said.
Zack said the claim that research continues because the university
allegedly receives kickbacks from research money is "crazy." "All
grants and awards have an indirect cost rate," he said. "Plus,
animal research is more expensive to begin with, so there is no
reason to do it for the money." Activists also claimed to have
evidence of inhumane experiments performed on animals at UCLA. In
April 1988, members of Last Chance for Animals broke into a room in
the UCLA Brain Research Institute. The activists claimed to have
entered the cat vivarium, which housed cats that were being
experimented on by UCLA researchers, and taken pictures and
videotape before they were caught by university police. However,
UCLA professor Greg Heisey claims that the activists were caught
before they were able to take any pictures or evidence from the
area. This is not the only sort of misrepresentation of facts that
Heisey charges the activists with. "Often, activists will use very
old pictures in their propaganda, and match those pictures up with
inaccurate captions," Heisey said. Heisey defended the use of cats
in research, claiming that the charges of the animal research
activists were greatly exaggerated. "In the case of the cat with
the brain implant (pictured on the cover of the activists’
pamphlet), the truth is that after the surgery, you can’t even tell
these cats from any other cat," he claimed. "The cats live a long
life, with no ill effects, and the researcher gets meaningful
data," Heisey said. "It’s really a win-win situation." JAMIE
SCANLON-JACOBS Students voice anger over UCLA’s animal research.


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