Animal Rights Activists Protest at UCLA After USDA Confirms Violations

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SAEN demonstration at UCLA video - 25 Jul 2011

Animal Rights Activists Protest at UCLA After USDA Confirms Violations

By Muna Cosic,, July 27, 2011

Demonstrators from Stop Animal Exploitation Now march in Westwood on Monday to draw attention to violations of animal welfare laws by the university.

With fake blood on their hands and clothing, about 50 animal rights activists took to the streets of Westwood Village on Monday to protest animal rights violations at UCLA.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) organized the protest and Executive Director Michael Budkie stood with the other activists. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Friday that UCLA's animal research laboratory received a notice of animal rights violations during a December 2010 inspection.

A few of the protesters dressed up in bloodied lab coats with "Animal Abuser" and "Animal Killer" printed on the back. Jim Chovanec dressed up as a lab monkey and held a sign that said “UCLA the Dark Side.”

The reason for the demonstration was "violations of federal animal welfare laws in research programs," SAEN representatives said.

UCLA said in a press release that the issues raised during the December inspection were resolved, which the USDA acknowledged. Two inspections since then did not bring up any other violations, the release said.

"We will not be deterred from our mission as a public university to create new knowledge that benefits society," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

Cars drove by the corner of Westwood and Le Conte at the edge of campus and honked. Some pedestrians stopped to read the many signs the protesters held and took pamphlets. Julia MacKenzie, SAEN West Coast liaison and organizer of the protest, led the demonstrators from from Westwood Village to the campus.

“UCLA students feel intimidated to protest,” said MacKenzie. She said she doesn’t blame them for not joining the demonstration because they may feel reluctant to protest their own school.

The demonstrators marched, followed by police officers on bikes, to the front entrance of the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior and chanted, “Nothing to hide? Let us inside!” Police officers stood in front of the entrance.

To allow the protesters to cross the street, traffic was stopped on Charles E. Young Drive by UCLA security and police officers.

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