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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Researchers, animal activists demonstrate at UCLA

By Lorinda Toledo
Associated Press
Posted: 04/22/2009 07:53:25 PM PDT
Updated: 04/22/2009 07:53:26 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES Hundreds of supporters and opponents of animal research held rallies today at the University of California, Los Angeles, where authorities say scientists have been the targets of stalking, threats and arson attacks.

Advocates of animal research wore T-shirts with the slogan "Stand up for science" while foes across a street chanted and held signs such as "End the animal holocaust." Each group then moved to separate areas under police watch.

Proponents of animal testing cheered David Jentsch, a UCLA psychologist and neuroscientist whose parked car was targeted in a March 7 firebombing for which a group called the Animal Liberation Brigade claimed responsibility.

"Six weeks ago when I looked out the front window of my living room, I saw what I believed was truly one of the worst faces of humanity looking back at me," Jentsch told the crowd. "But now as I look out and see your faces I see what I believe is the best face of humanity looking back at me."

The rallies came just days after the unsealing of an indictment charging two animal rights activists with conspiracy, stalking and other crimes against researchers at UCLA and a juice company. Federal and other agencies also announced Wednesday a reward of up to $75,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the firebombing of Jentsch's car.

Jentsch, 37, said in an interview that despite having his car incinerated and a continuing series of obscene e-mails he is "particularly emboldened" by the advancements law enforcement has made in recent weeks.

"I'm not going to move, change my life or quit my research. I am going to persist," he said.

He said the rally provided the campus with a sense of relief that people do not have to fear for their lives.

Jentsch does research on rodents and primates to study the impact of drug addiction on the brain.

"Someday there may be alternatives to animal research, but how do you get alternatives? Through research," he said.

Among supporters was a researcher who works for Jentsch. She spoke with a reporter on condition that only her first name, Stephanie, be used because she fears being attacked or having her car firebombed.

"I owe science a debt of gratitude for saving my parents' lives," she said, explaining that one had survived leukemia and the other cancer because they were treated with chemotherapy developed through research on animals.
The animal rights protesters brought signs showing research animals and slogans such as "Animal experiments scientific fraud" and "I am not a research tool." One protester wore a gorilla suit; another dressed as an orangutan set up a cage and sat in it.

ill Ryther, who is on the board of the Animal Law Society at UCLA, said she wanted discussion, not violence.

"I think that I would like to see nothing more than an organized debate where doctors are debating both sides. ... I think the more violent acts are unfortunate. It's distracting from the more important issues. Those kinds of tactics have no place here," she said.

Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said he was trained in animal research and was turned off by what he witnessed.
"I've seen what happens to these animals when the testing drives them insane and causes them to rip out their own flesh. That only confirms my belief. Animals are not objects," he said.

Asked if he condones aggressive tactics to intimidate people from doing animal research, he said that as long as people were using their constitutional rights he was in favor of it.

The $75,000 reward in the March 7 firebombing was offered by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, UCLA and the city of Los Angeles.

That reward brings the total offered to $475,000 for information on six separate incidents, including two attempts to set fire to researchers' homes, four vehicle fires and vandalism caused by putting a garden hose in a broken window to flood a home.

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