UCLA Pro-Test Rally: Hundreds Showed Support!

You may have heard by now that there was a rally yesterday at UCLA for Pro-Test, where scientists and the public in support of responsible animal research gathered to protest the violence and threats that have plagued the UCLA scientific community. The rally featured Dr. David Jentsch, a scientist who’s car recently was firebombed by animal rights activists.
Sci was so excited that the UCLA scientists were standing up for themselves (unfortunately she had to be there in spirit and over the internet), but will admit that she was following the Pro-Test anxiously on Twitter (@dosmonos) all day. With it being “Animal Liberation Week” and with all the violence that has occurred there before, I was terrified that something would happen. In a way, the people who showed up at the rally have put their safety on the line. Many groups will not hesitate to threaten your work, your property, and your life. So Sci was first incredibly happy that every got through safe and sound, and that no rocks were thrown, and in fact, there were only about 30 ARAs that even showed up.
But then she got the really good news. Over 700 people showed up at the rally in support of responsible animal research! Not only that, there’s a petition, with over 165 signatures from scientists and others stating that:

1. That animal research has contributed and continues to contribute to major advances in the length and quality of our lives. It remains vital to understanding basic biological processes and for the development of new treatments and therapies such as antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and cancer medicines.
2. That animal research is morally justifiable provided animal welfare remains a high priority and no valid non-animal alternatives are available.
3. That violence, intimidation and harassment of scientists and others involved in animal research is neither a legitimate means of protest, nor morally justified.

If you would like to sign the petition, you can do so here. There’s some more coverage of the rally over at DrugMonkey, complete with video coverage from CNN.
For all you who showed up yesterday, thank you. You made a difference yesterday. No more fear.

9 Responses

  1. Thanks for writing about this Sci. I wasn’t able to make it to the rally myself as I’m based in the UK, but I have been touch with the Pro-Test UCLA committee a lot over the past few weeks, and know how much time and effort (not to mention courage) went into organizing the rally, so it’s great to see it go so well.
    I’m glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one anxiously watching every twitter post that Greg posted, it was a great relief to read about the cheers David Jentsch got and the large number attending.
    This win is only the start though, there’s a lot of work to do to build on it and secure the future of medical research.
    No more lies, no more fear!

  2. Me again.
    If you want to continue the success there’s a poll that could do with some crashing, currently the anti-vivs are ahead, lets change that.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/04/activists-clash-peacefully-over-animal-experimentation-at-ucla-demonstrations.html

  3. Dang, Paul, I wish I had minions to send over. I might have readers, but I would never call them minions. Contact PZ?? There’s got to be SOMETHING we can do. Judging by the numbers yesterday, they are totally crashing that poll.

  4. Great news about the rally.
    People can now see that others can stand up in favour of this research without being attacked. The silent majority that supports carefully licenced animal research no longer need to be silent.

  5. Hey Sci, For the purpose of this poll, I’ll be your minion and consider me sent…Though things are much better now, with us at 1241, them 401 and 2 undecided…

  6. For the purpose of the poll I’ll second DuWayne and be your minion.

  7. I work in basic biomedical research (though I don’t work with animals) and I also work in animal rescue, primarily dogs. I think the scientific community’s response in the early days to animal welfare activists was healthy for all involved. Animal research in the US is mostly done using NIH funds, and the taxpayers have a right to know why things are being done the way they are. Once upon a time, that wasn’t the case; papers just proceeded with the idea that *of course* the readers would know why you were studying turkey gizzard. The result of that was Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Awards. So, communicating more effectively, assuring the proper and humane use of animals – all a good thing.
    But I’m wondering if an alliance with pet animal rescue, to the extent it would be possible, wouldn’t be a good thing for the research community. I personally *hate* the fact that some of the researchers I work with use dogs as subjects when my own dogs are like children to me. But everyday hundreds, maybe thousands of dogs are put down because human beings were careless enough to let them be born and not responsible enough to give them good homes. So, what’s the greater problem? Animals whose deaths have purpose or animals whose deaths are a testament to the callous inattention of humanity? Is there a constructive way to link rescue and defense of humane animal research?

  8. Hi! I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog! Your series on depression is just wonderful – as someone who has just started on counseling for long-term depression, reading through your posts has been profoundly helpful and comforting to me. I’m the sort of nerd who gets reassurance from knowledge – the more I know about something, the better I feel about it. Being able to learn about the physiology and chemistry of my condition gives me confidence that I can deal with it effectively.
    I also wanted to let you know that your attempts to educate people about animal testing *don’t* always fall on deaf ears. In my teens, I was opposed to any kind of animal testing, based on the sorts of things I read from various environmental groups. As I got older, thought, I indulged my interest in science education and learned more about what researchers use animals for and the benefits we get from them. I learned about gene knockouts and cool things with viruses and how stuff like this might someday help us deal with the worst of congenital human illnesses, and how could stuff like that not excite me and appeal to my sense of compassion for human beings who suffer? I loved reading what you had to say about stress testing on mice in depression research, too.
    I still wish there were an alternative to testing on animals, and there are still some things I’m not so crazy about, but my view on animal testing has been vastly changed by patient education from lots of different scientists and science writers.
    Thanks for the wonderful work you do.

  9. DuWayne and Danimal: Thanks! I could use some minions, even temporary ones. If you could peel Sci some grapes and fan her while she mixes her chemicals…
    Jillian: Thank you! People like you are what make this blog worthwhile.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: