DawnWatch: Two stories in the LA Times about primate research at UCLA — 9/6/06

September 7th, 2006 5:18 pm by Kelly Garbato

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Sep 6, 2006 11:13 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Two stories in the LA Times about primate research at UCLA 9/6/06

Today and yesterday, articles appeared in the Los Angeles Times which highlighted the plight of animals at the UCLA laboratories. Yesterday’s article (Tuesday, September 5) by Joe Mozingo, is headed, “A Thin Line on Animal Rights; Dr. Jerry Vlasak stays carefully in the world of medicine while serving as a spokesman for extremists who threaten laboratory researchers.” (Pg B1)

Focusing on Vlasak, it shares some of his shocking comments, such as one made to the Observer in England, in 2004. Speaking of researchers who experiment on animals Vlasak said, “I don’t think you’d have to kill too many. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million nonhuman lives.”

Since 5-15 scientists would not experiment on millions of animals, such a statement must refer to the terror effect — and feeds into the government’s labeling, and growing public opinion, of animal rights activists as terrorists.

The article describes a recent UCLA victory:

“Last month, those groups scored a victory when a UCLA professor conducting research on macaque monkeys sent Vlasak and others an e-mail with the subject line ‘You win.’ After several years of harassment and threats to his family, neurobiology professor Dario Ringach announced he would stop his primate research.”

And it quotes Vlasak:

“I think Dario Ringach is a poster boy for the concept that the use of force or the threat of force is an effective means to stop people who abuse animals.”

But having presented Vlasak’s most shocking statements, the article ends on a compelling note:

“Asked where he would draw the line on animals worth protecting with force — jellyfish, sponges, flies? — he parried that he has more pressing concerns.

“‘You don’t have to believe in the rights of an oyster to see what they’re doing at UCLA is wrong,’ he said.”

You can read the whole piece on line here OR http://tinyurl.com/ka9so

Today’s article (Wednesday, September 6) by Carla Hall is headed, “UCLA Distorts Animal Testing, Activists Allege” (Pg B4)

It opens:

“Animal rights activists accused UCLA officials Tuesday of painting a distorted picture of animal testing on campus and questioned its relevance.

“At a news conference in front of the administration building, Michael Budkie, head of a nonprofit group called Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, said that test animals are ‘so stressed they are mutilating their own bodies’ and that UCLA sponsors research to attract grant money.”

Budkie is quoted:

“This not about science. This is not about research. This is about bringing money to the university.”

The article describes some of the research such as that which had been conducted by Ringach, who recently abandoned his primate studies under animal activist’s pressure:

“Ringach, a neurobiologist, has been studying the brain and the ways it receives information from the retina.”

We read about other experiments and learn that the animals are “sacrificed at the conclusion of the procedure.”

You’ll find the whole article on line here OR http://tinyurl.com/lznuv

As millions of animals die painful deaths, often for trivial causes (How much new oven cleaner do we need?) silence on this issue, which assures a continuation of the status quo, is deadly. But it is unfortunate that articles focus on the activists rather than the animals, particularly when the activists’ statements are likely to erode public support for our cause. We owe it to the animals to turn the focus of the discussion onto them — to use these articles to open up a forum on the Los Angeles Times editorial page, not about activists and their tactics but about primate testing at UCLA or (or animal testing elsewhere). I believe it is best that our movement be perceived as overwhelmingly peaceful, and I hope those who share that opinion with me will also share it with the Los Angeles Times. But please make the animals the focus of your letters.

The Los Angeles Times takes letters at letters [at] latimes.com.

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. To unsubscribe, go to http://www.dawnwatch.com/cgi-bin/dada/dawnwatch_unsubscribe.cgi
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