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

Media Coverage

Protest held for primate liberation

UCLA refutes activists’ accusation that research using animals is brutal

By Lee Bialik
[email protected]

Protesters against lab experimentation on primates marched from the Federal Building to the UCLA Neurophysiology building and through Westwood on Monday.

Participants in the protest said UCLA was targeted to advocate against experiments using primates that occur on campus. The university strongly refutes their accusations.

The protest was one of dozens of events scheduled to take place this week in 20 cities nationwide. The events are a part of National Primate Liberation Week.

Activists organized the events in response to an investigative report released this week by a national non-profit research organization called Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!

The report detailed an increase in experiments using primates as well as an increase in public funding for them.

Michael Budkie, the author of the SAEN report and organizer of national SAEN events, said experiments at UCLA often use methods such as restraining primates to chairs, making openings in their skulls, and placing electrodes in their brains.

Budkie added that research often makes the subjects susceptible to diseases such as meningitis.

He believes the awareness of students and faculty could help change the university's research policy of using animals.

"While some people at universities get paid to perform experiments, I know that other scientists have higher ethical standards," he said.

According to a statement issued by UCLA, the university makes every effort to minimize pain and discomfort to the animals. These efforts include having campus veterinarians and trained animal-care specialists monitor every animal-research project to ensure the animals are treated humanely.

In addition, the university said animals are only used in research when no other appropriate means is available and that every animal-research project at UCLA must be approved by an independent review committee.

The protesters believed otherwise, saying that research was unnecessary and brutal.

They described themselves as independent activists who live in Los Angeles and hope to raise public awareness.

Protester Dena Snedden, who grew up in the UCLA area and attended UCLA Extension, said she was protesting to help bring UCLA to the 21st century.

"It's time that they explore and implement humane medical research. The technology is there," she said.

"The reason this is happening is to line certain individuals' pockets at the animals' expense and the public's expense."

But researchers denied the group's allegations.

"The research I do wouldn't be worth anything if the animals weren't socially and physically healthy. We maintain the conditions to assure that that's the case," said psychiatry and behavioral sciences Professor Lynn Fairbanks, one of the professors named by the protesters as using primates in research.

SAEN has also planned a candlelight vigil in Westwood on Friday evening.

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