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Animal Rights Activists Zero-In on UCLA Research

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As the University of California continues to reform how and why animals are used in research, even with full transparency to the public about their use, animal rights activists still feel the need to aggressively take action against the institution. It doesn’t really matter how strict the regulations are on animal use, or even the fact that countless breakthroughs have been made here through this avenue of research; the activists take issue with the use of animals at all in the name of science. We were on site to witness the protests take place this Monday.

Armed with posters, chanting slogans such as “UCLA has blood on its hands”, activists marched through campus on Monday morning, which prompted tightened security around all of the research institutes as well as the hospitals, where research and medical staff were required to show identification in order to enter work. This was troubling for many of the staff, one of whom remarked to us that “these people have too much time on their hands,” then made his way into work.

Some of the staff have cause for concern over these protests – this was not the first time that animal rights activists took aim at UCLA this year. The debate had been heating throughout spring to the point where one rights group, the Animal Liberation Front, left an explosive device at the home of a UCLA researcher on July 11 – or at least they intended to, but mistakenly planted it at the wrong house. Luckily, the bomb failed to go off.

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With this debate continuing to gain more traction, it is important to remember that animal use at UCLA is conducted in the most humane manner under strict regulations, and only when there is no other avenue possible to continue the research. The research must also be deemed necessary in the first place by an ethics committee, and then routinely monitored.