The UCLA chapter of the pro-science organization Pro-Test has announced its second major rally to show support for science and to stand up against the ongoing campaign of intimidation being waged by animal rights activists. The organization originated in Oxford in 2006 during a streak of particularly nasty actions by animal extremists, and the UCLA chapter held their first rally about a year ago in response to the escalating threats and destruction of property aimed at animal researchers in the US.
The next rally is scheduled to start at 11:30 am, on Thursday, April 8th. It will convene on the UCLA campus, at the corner of Westwood Blvd and Le Conte Ave. You can read the full text of the Pro-Test press release on the event below:
Supporters of science at the 2009 UCLA Pro-Test rally.
In 2009, Pro-Test for Science held an historic rally on the UCLA campus; bringing over 700 people onto the streets in support of the scientists and researchers who carry out lifesaving medical research using laboratory animals. Such research continues to advance scientific knowledge and plays a vital role in the development of innovative treatments for human disease. However, animal rights extremists have continued to escalate their threats against researchers and their families.
On Thursday April 8th Pro-Test for Science will respond by rallying students, scientists and members of the public to support the cause of medical science. We call on the community to stand together against the recent tide of animal rights activism which has worked to misrepresent research and coerce those that carry it out.
David Jentsch, founder of Pro-Test for Science, said:
“The scientific community has joined together to push back against those who seek to stall advances in biomedicine. Never before has it been more important to continue these efforts so that humane biomedical research can continue unhindered by the misguided threats of a minority who oppose it.“
This rally, on the UCLA campus seeks to:
- Communicate a better understanding of animal research to the public, its importance to medical progress, and what we all stand to lose if such work were to stop
- Celebrate the successes of animal research in the development of treatments for disease, new diagnostic procedures/instruments, and surgical techniques.
- Defend the rights of researchers to pursue their work free from harassment and intimidation.
The rally will begin on Thursday April 8th at 11:30 AM, on the north-east corner of Westwood Blvd. and Le Conte Ave., which will be followed by a march to Wilson Plaza, where speakers include UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor Scott Waugh and Dr. Kevin Quinn from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Pro-Test UCLA co-founder David Jentsch recently had an article in UCLA Today explaining why the Pro-Test cause is so important. Here’s a bit about the intimidation that he has personally faced:
Just over one year ago, someone stole into my front yard at 4 a.m. and placed a sophisticated incendiary device under my car; the explosion occurred fewer than 10 feet from where members of my household were sleeping. Before the flash of the initial detonation was even over, my car was engulfed in flames, and the fire had begun to spread into the surrounding brush–placing hundreds of West LA homes at potential risk; I watched the sun rise from the front room of a home that had become the site of a domestic terrorism investigation.
By now, many people in our community are aware of the reasons that this happened. I–like hundreds of other faculty, students and staff at UCLA–am a scientist who studies the biology and behavior of mice, rats or monkeys in my quest to better understand how the brain works. Because of this, I have been targeted by animal rights activists who likely followed me home from campus, stalked me and my loved ones in the dead of night, and then bombed my car.
Given that intimidation by animal rights extremists continues to disrupt the lives and work of scientists at UCLA and elsewhere, if you’re in the LA area and can make it this Thursday, I’d encourage you to go and show your support for science.