Activists stage on-campus protest against animal research at UCs

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http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2012/04/activists_stage_oncampus_protest_against_animal_research_at_ucs

Activists stage on-campus protest against animal research at UCs

By Aislinn Dunne, Devin Kelly, Naheed Rajwani, DailyBruin.com, Friday, April 27, 2012

Activists clad in white lab coats rolled out a red carpet in front of Kerckhoff Hall and walked down it, waving and kissing dollar bills.

The scene was part of a protest march staged Thursday by activists speaking out against what they say is inhumane treatment of animals at UCLA and in other UC research laboratories.

The protest was part of World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week, an annual event organized by Stop Animal Exploitation Now! and other animal rights groups that oppose animal experimentation – in particular doing experiments on live animals, said Julia MacKenzie, the West Coast coordinator for the group.

Around 11 a.m., about 75 protesters gathered at the corner of Le   Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard. Carrying signs, the protesters then marched toward the UCLA campus, stopping at campus research centers and chanting slogans along the way. “Human freedom, animal rights,” one chant went.

Marchers included community organizers as well as some students. Laurel Brewer, a third-year biology student and co-president of Bruins for Animals, participated in the march and passed out fliers.

Thursday’s protest is the most recent flare-up in an ethical debate that has existed between university officials and animal rights activists over the years. Activists staged a similar protest on campus around this time last year. Actions in recent years by some animal rights groups against university researchers have included violent acts and threats, according to Daily Bruin archives.

Officials have said in the past that rigorous oversight on the part of both the government and the UCLA administration is in place to prevent abuse, and stringent requirements must be met before a researcher can use an animal as a subject. The university routinely stresses the medical benefits of animal experimentation when responding to the claims of activists.

A statement released Thursday said that UCLA “remains steadfast in its commitment to the legal use of laboratory animals for the benefit of society.”

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