There was a rally in LA for a group in favor of animal experimentation, Pro-Test, which also had a counter-rally by animal rights groups. You can guess which side I’m on in this debate: blocking experimentation on animals would kill biological research dead. The tactics of the anti-vivisectionists are also reprehensible and deserving of condemnation.
The Pro-Test group, an offshoot of an Oxford, England-based group founded in 2006, was organized by J. David Jentsch, a UCLA neuroscientist who was the target of a recent attack by anonymous animal-rights activists. In the attack, Jentsch’s car was set on fire while it was parked in front of his Westside home. (The FBI recently announced that a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible has been increased to $75,000.) Jentsch, who researches schizophrenia and drug addiction, conducts tests on monkeys. While he acknowledges that some monkeys are killed as part of his research, he maintains that they do not suffer. Jentsch was expected to speak at today’s rally.
Most importantly, we’re biologists. We’re in this business because we have a passion for the organisms we study, not because we’re some kind of sick sadists. We’re also currently swaddled up to our ears in regulations and monitors to prevent abuses of the animals in our care.
Unfortunately, the article discussing this rally has associated with it a poll. This makes me rather cranky—it’s a serious issue worth discussing, so please, don’t slap a stupid internet poll on it. It just means that advocacy groups will push at the numbers as if they mean something. So, please, go forth and destroy this pointless metric:
Yes — and I support it if the animals are treated well 27% (1872 votes)
No — it’s inhumane by definition and I don’t support it 73% (5049 votes)
Not sure <1% (4 votes)