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

Media Coverage

Protesters decry animal research

Activists march on UCLA facilities, accuse researchers of mistreatment


MIKE WINTERS/daily bruin senior staff
Sixty protesters came out to march against animal testing in front of the UCLA Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center on July 11, claiming that using animals for scientific research is unethical and unnecessary.

By Lauren Raab
DAILY BRUIN CONTRIBUTOR
lraab@media.ucla.edu 

Calling for the end of animal experimentation, protesters marched from Westwood Village to the UCLA Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center on July 11.

The 60 activists hoped to spread the message that animals are being mistreated in UCLA research facilities and that medical research conducted on animals does not benefit humans. The university strongly refutes these statements.

Michael Budkie and Chris DeRose, the organizers of the protest, said animal experimentation is merely a business venture designed to profit research organizations.

"These animals are suffering for no reason except to keep people at UCLA paid," said Budkie, executive director of the Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

Budkie stressed that brain-mapping research in particular is a commonly duplicated procedure that should be halted, since findings are redundant.

Amanda Banks, president of the California Biomedical Research Association, disagrees. Banks said that when researchers are looking to begin a research protocol involving animals, they must prove to the federal government that their approach to the experiment is original and that animals are required.

"You can't just do it because it strikes your fancy," Banks said.

She added that animal experimentation is very expensive.

"Researchers, if concerned more about profits than the greater good, would not use animal research," Banks said. "Fiscally, it's not profitable."

Protesters also said findings from animal research do not apply to humans, either because of the difference in genetics or problems with the research environment.

"Animals have a whole different physiology than humans, so usually it's just fraud," said Diana Wells, who joined the protest with classmates from Soka University in Orange County.

Budkie said animal research subjects are often so stressed or diseased that they are not representative of their own species, let alone human beings.

"When primates are socially isolated, they begin to exhibit self-injurious behavior," Budkie added. "Basically, the primate has gone insane."

Banks said that research animals are genetically very similar to humans even mice share 95 percent of humans' DNA and animal tests have been very helpful in curing human diseases.

"Mouse models of breast cancer have helped us bring breast cancer survival rates to an all-time high," she said.

Banks said it would not be in researchers' best interest to use unhealthy animals in their experiments.

"Researchers don't want animals polluting their data pool that are not representative. It's not good research," she said.

UCLA spokeswoman Judy Lin said the university has many mechanisms in place to prevent animal abuse, including a whistle-blower program in which lab and facilities workers are asked to report any concerns they might have.

"The university has a very large concern that research animals be humanely cared for. We're in compliance with all the regulations federal and otherwise for animal research," Lin said.

http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/articles.asp?id=33910 

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