Animal Activists Sued By University Of California Regents For Threatening University Reseachers

In 2006, according to court documents, animal rights activists harassed UCLA professor Dario Ringach and other scientists who conduct research with laboratory animals.

Documents stated that they hurled firecrackers at his house and planted Molotov-cocktail-like explosives at the homes of other faculty members and threatened to burn down their houses.

Ringach was afraid for his family and their safety and wrote an email to the animal activists begging to be left alone: “Effectively immediately, I am no longer doing animal research. Please don’t bother my family anymore.”

In response to the threats by the activists, the University of California regents are suing UCLA Primate Freedom, the Animal Liberation Brigade, the Animal Liberation Front and five people allegedly affiliated with this group.

From Washington Post:

Harassment by violent animal rights activists has climbed at universities across the country, including Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Utah, and Ohio State University, where researchers have been victims of home visits or, in one case, found their windows slathered in glass-eating acid. Scientists, administrators and lawyers are closely watching the effectiveness of the California regents case.

Experts say the shift toward more personal attacks is a response to increasingly fortified laboratories, which universities began securing in the 1980s and 1990s as attacks heightened.

Now, groups have shunned “Fort Knox” in favor of ill-prepared homes, said Jerry Vlasik, the former vivisector turned spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. Vlasik has repeatedly advocated for using “whatever force against animal research scientists necessary.”

“If killing them is the only way to stop them,” he said in a telephone interview, “then I said killing them would certainly be justified.”

Some scientists refuse to relinquish their work, but others are not taking chances. Like Ringach, some continue to work but not with animals. Most who leave the profession make their decisions quietly, not wanting to fuel the movement.

Still, ripples are spreading through the science community. Positions in animal research are increasingly difficult to fill, according to Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, a national organization that supports the humane and responsible use of animals in medical and scientific research.

“I do hear scientists say that they have open positions and nobody to fill them because it’s animal research,” Trull said. “The bigger question, and we worry about this a lot, is what will happen to the future of biomedical research? Will brilliant young minds go to some other field because this field has become too contentious?”

Source: Washington Post

(Thanks Jens_pens)

39 thoughts on “Animal Activists Sued By University Of California Regents For Threatening University Reseachers

  1. Whatever one’s view is on the topic, someone who says, “All life is sacred and I will kill you if you don’t agree.”, is a psychopath.

    A lot of positive change has taken place in animal research over the last several decades due to the efforts of groups acting in a lawful and responsible manner. Laws have been passed to curb the worst abuse, researchers have developed new methods, and public awareness is such as to put pressure on researchers to limit the practice to the most critical and necessary research.

    Maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. There’s nothing to be gained by terrorist tactics, except to return things to the way they were in the bad old days by creating public opinion against anyone working for change.

  2. Certainly terrorism is wrong, but are things really getting better for research animals?

    Monkey Boiled Alive At Research Lab
    Chris Halsne
    KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter

    POSTED: 3:45 pm PST January 31, 2008
    UPDATED: 3:20 pm PST February 13, 2008
    A monkey, slotted to be used in a drug-product research experiment, was instead boiled alive inside an Everett laboratory, a KIRO Team 7 Investigation found.

    It’s a deadly error, but not the first one KIRO Team 7 Investigators uncovered at SNBL USA.

    That company is near the Boeing Plant off Merrill Creek Parkway in Everett. It houses around 2,000 primates and represents clients like Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly and Seattle Genetics.

    Using hidden camera footage, Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne shows you inside a facility that’s no stranger to federal animal care violations…..

  3. Yes, Marie they are. Ten years ago you would not have even heard about the abuses animals suffer in labs or stock yards. Now we do because a lot of LAW abiding folks make it their business to find out and tell us.
    A lot of animal abuse wasn’t labeled as such years ago when such practices first started. Animals, due to human ignorance and pride, were not even thought to feel pain. Now we all know better and more people are coming around to acknowledge the lack of need for animal testing in many cases (cosmetics and cleaning products).
    I only use products that have not been tested on animals. I do not buy Suave, Dial, etc because their labels do not say “Not Tested on Animals”. I read those labels as carefully as I do what I put into my or my pets mouth.

  4. And the LAWFUL work continues. You are right, G, that this is what is effective and vested interest groups are bothered by that.


    “If the alleged atrocities reported by former employees of SNBL USA, including the scalding death of a female monkey, are not pursued by the U.S.D.A. or state and local authorities, Pasado’s Safe Haven, a national animal welfare organization located in the State of Washington (and situated in the same county where SNBL USA’s employees are reported to allegedly torture animals), in conjunction with animal lawyer Adam P. Karp, founder of the Washington State Bar Association Animal Law Section and adjunct professor of animal law at the University of Washington and Seattle University Schools of Law, will initiate a private criminal action to bring justice to this animal who suffered so horribly, as well as explore other potential private criminal actions against SNBL USA and its employees concerning other alleged mistreatment of lab animals.”

  5. “Where do these fringe criminal groups get their funding?”

    Probably from the other terrorist group called PETA.

  6. Yes. The REALLY brilliant young minds WILL GO ELSEWHERE, leaving the cruel abusers to fill the positions and anyone who says “things have changed” is just sticking their heads in the sand. Animal testing is not needed, no matter what anyone says. IT IS ALL INHUMANE AND A LIVING HELL FOR ANY ANIMAL INVOLVED.

  7. I’m grateful to see some mainstream media investigations.
    UW investigated for unauthorized monkey surgeries
    Story Published: Feb 26, 2008 at 11:15 PM PDT

    Story Updated: Feb 27, 2008 at 11:49 AM PDT
    SEATTLE — “In a hidden part of the University of Washington campus, hundreds of monkeys live and die for research. They undergo experimental surgeries and tests until their usefulness is over.

    The federal government pays the university millions for this research. But a Problem Solvers investigation has uncovered that some of those millions are in jeopardy and the university is under investigation because of unauthorized surgeries on monkeys…..”

    Controversial since at least 2005.

    The law applies to everyone.

    Here is a support group for lab animal caretakers:

  8. RE: “Where do these fringe criminal groups get their funding?”

    I don’t know about this particular case, but in many instances, the opposition funds the groups most likely to make the other side look bad.

    For example, side A opposes side B. Side A takes care to oppose side B in a responsible, lawful, legitimate manner, which creates respect and good public opinion for side A.

    Side B then infiltrates side A and begins recruiting the most radical, unstable members to split them off into a fringe group, which is then funded by side B. The side B funded fringe group is then encouraged to engage in activities that make side A look bad through guilt by association.

    Public support for side A is diminished as a result, sources of funding are lost, and side A is eventually rendered ineffective.

    I don’t think there is anything about the issue of animal research that is easy to decide. I don’t believe anyone with an ounce of humanity wants to see animals suffer. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to believe a humane person would stand by and watch a loved one die in order to protect the rights of a mouse. IMO, it’s a situation where everyone has to make concessions to find a middle of the road solution that by definition isn’t going to be perfect.

    UC Davis recently did a melamine/cyanuric acid study that resulted in the deaths of a number of cats. On a very personal level, that bothers me. I have a special fondness for cats and the idea of anyone doing things to cats that have been raised to think they are people is upsetting to me. On the other hand, the results of the study answered questions that are critical to the interests of thousands of pet owners affected by last year’s recall. It’s even possible that if the study had been conducted 10 years ago, those thousands of pet owners would still have their pets.

    How do you make the call on something like that in terms that only recognize black and white, and no shades of gray?

  9. I worked for a sicko at the University of Buffalo who tied the little legs of male mice down and cut off their private parts. (he laughed) This was not a necessary part of the experimentation he did. He was also head of the animal department. I quit. We were funded by a federal government grant. 5 million. I felt so sorry for the many dogs there. If you need to experiment on animals use the human species. You get results that will help other humans. Other species cannot speak for themselves. That is the black and white of the subject.

  10. How does the University know which groups were involved? They named quite a few… just wondering if the groups actually took responsibility or something. I know some of them do sometimes…

  11. I guess I still don’t understand why the UC Davis study had to be done. Menu had already tested the food on 40 dogs and cats in a kennel situation with lethal results. They knew the food had melamine and cyanuric acid in it and knew that the combo formed those crystals.

    It seemed like the UC study was done more for legal reasons than being neccessary to prevent more deaths. That one was troubling for me, too.

    What would have helped prevent deaths in the first place was to have done routine kennel testing of the pet food for every batch, especially when using new suppliers. That can be done humanely and I think at least one pet food company does have their own humanely run kennels. The expectation would be that you are feeding the animals good food, but if there were a crime or mishap behind the scenes, you would catch it before there was massive exposure.

    (Sorry to hear your story, Doglover. You witnessed true sadism. Nobody should be a victim of that, human nor animal.)

  12. RE: “If you need to experiment on animals use the human species.”

    An interesting position to take. Perhaps we could use terrorists passing themselves off as animal rights activists for that purpose? Perhaps not.

    It’s a problem where both ends need to be attacked from the middle. People who abuse people, and people who abuse animals, suffer from the same form of insanity. They delight in the suffering of others and the sick feeling of power they get from the harm they cause. A locked ward is where they belong.

  13. I think the people who do these things to animals — under whatever legitimizing guise — are sick twisted sadists who enjoy it. It is revolting that we are forced to underwrite it with our tax dollars.


  14. I am horrified that animals are abused in the name of science but I am also horrified that so-called “animal lovers” will blithely say they’d murder to protect animals. Sorry that doesn’t even make sense. I agree that a middle road must be found and NO animal, even a mouse, should suffer abuse in the name of science. One person said to use human subjects; they do already. Prisoners in state and federal institutions volunteer to be test subjects for new medications. Although it can be argued that we “need” new drugs for this or that, knowing that the FDA approves drugs that we don’t need, are dangerous, expensive or have horrendous side effects. I am sick of corporation greed and I see this animal research as part of it. Do we really need it? Or do the drug companies just want to keep pushing needless drugs at us at the expense of our physical and mental health?

  15. I am in agreement with Stephani and Doglover. I’ve written this before and will write it again as well as take the view to my grave. Why is it humans think the rest of life exists solely for its own betterment and/or amusement?

    A human can say no to an experiment; an animal cannot. That alone makes animal testing immoral in my judgment. Although not a believer in any divinity (life sure has cured me of that), I do not believe animals exist for human exploitation.

    Especially in the age of computer modeling, animal testing is completely unnecessary. Some will disagree with that but I stand by the tenet that all living things–unless posing a direct threat or harm to others–have an equal right to live in peace.

    The problem with humans is we have a tough enough time putting ourselves in the shoes of another human. So, what do we expect then when it comes to trying to convince some of us, a dog or cat or monkey or whatever, has to right to live without sacrificing limbs or life for humans–the most pathetic creatures on earth.

  16. Research even seems to be bleeding into violations of the Nuremburg code again. There isn’t enough oversight by non-vested parties of medical research and drug testing in general, whether the test subjects are animals or human. It takes constant vigilence to maintain ethics in research and that means that good people that find this difficult to think about are the very ones whose inputs are needed.

  17. Whether you are against animal research or take some other position on the topic, terrorizing researchers (as referenced in the article) can never be justified. There are legal, non-violent ways to make your voice heard.

  18. Nora and Rufus says:

    March 17th, 2008 at 1:25 pm
    Yes. The REALLY brilliant young minds WILL GO ELSEWHERE, leaving the cruel abusers to fill the positions and anyone who says “things have changed” is just sticking their heads in the sand. Animal testing is not needed, no matter what anyone says. IT IS ALL INHUMANE AND A LIVING HELL FOR ANY ANIMAL INVOLVED.

    When I was working in an institution that had an animal facility and did experiments involving animals, most of the lab animals were adopted out as pets after their time in the lab was done–and yes, they were well-socialized enough to make good pets.

    The “animal rights” terrorists have been very effective in promoting the idea that all “animal experimentation” involves horrific actions and ends in the death of the animal. This is simply not true.

    It’s also not true that no animal experimentation is needed. The amount that’s needed has been reduced; computer modeling and other techniques are able to substitute for more and more of what used to be done with live animals. Well-run animal facilities (sadly, not all are well-run) make very serious efforts to minimize both the numbers of animals used and the frequency with which any animals are used, and the discomfort to any animal that is used. Unfortunately, we have not yet reached the stage where computer modeling is an adequate substitute for live animals in all cases.

    PETA’s support for ALF and other animal rightst terrorists is pretty well documented, even though largely ignored.

    Oh, and for fifteen years, I had wonderful, much-loved cat who survived kittenhood because of medical research that would never have been done for the primary benefit of cats.

  19. I agree that some animal research is done humanely and am not in agreement with PETA on many issues, but to stay accurate here, the terrorist affiliation allegation about PETA has been extensively investigated by the FBI and no link was ever found. In fact, the ACLU made this statement:
    “ACLU leaders contend that the memos show that FBI and government Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the country have expanded the definition of domestic terrorism to people who engage in mainstream political activity, including nonviolent protest and civil disobedience.

    “The FBI should use its resources to investigate credible threats to national security instead of spending time tracking innocent Americans who criticize government policy, or monitoring groups that have not broken the law,” ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson said. Previously released papers showed that the FBI kept files that mentioned the organizations, she said, “But we didn’t know that they actually launched counterterrorism investigations into these groups.””

    Charges that PETA is a spokesgroup for violent groups date back to 2005 from Senator James M. Inhofe.

    Inhofe is not exactly a friend of independent scientists, himself.

    “James Mountain “Jim” Inhofe (born November 17, 1934) is an American politician from Oklahoma. A member of the Republican Party, he currently serves as the senior Senator from Oklahoma. He is among the most vocal skeptics of climate change (global warming) in Congress.[1] Inhofe often cites the Bible as the source for his stances on various political issues.[2]
    In a 2006 interview with the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe compared environmentalists to Nazis. He said, “It kind of reminds… I could use the Third Reich, the Big Lie… You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their [the environmentalists’] strategy…
    Only Texas senator John Cornyn received more campaign donations from the oil and gas industry in the 2002 election cycle.[20] The contributions Inhofe has received from the energy and natural resource sector since taking office have exceeded one million dollars.[21]”

    Inhofe was investigated himself:

    “In his business career, Inhofe was a real estate developer and became president of the Quaker Life Insurance Company. That company went into receivership while he managed it; it was liquidated in 1986, and despite a two year investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into accounting irregularities connected with the failure, Inhofe was never charged with any criminal offenses, and has since denied any wrongdoing.[5]”


    Not my idea of a credible source but his allegations about PETA were checked out and found to be false.

  20. RE: “I guess I still don’t understand why the UC Davis study had to be done. Menu had already tested the food on 40 dogs and cats in a kennel situation with lethal results.”

    That’s probably an excellent example of the situation, although for a different reason than you propose.

    The Menu experiment was not scientific, did not have a control group, no meaningful data resulted from it, no record of what was in the food was kept (or at least disclosed), the animals weren’t put down when it was obvious they were suffering, etc.. It was the kind of animal experimentation that any right thinking, caring person, would certainly object to. It wasn’t science. It was a bunch of jerks torturing animals just for grins.

    The UC Davis study, on the other hand, was carefully controlled, the number of animals involved was strictly limited, everything was measured and documented, the necessary controls were in place, etc.. My biggest objection to it on the scientific level is UC Davis never measured cyanuric acid levels in any pet food samples it tested, the amount of cyanuric acid used in the study was picked arbitrarily, and the end result isn’t a real world representation of what actually happened as far as pet food contamination is concerned.

    As close as I can tell, all media reports to the contrary, the use of nonprotein nitrogen sources (including everything associated with the recall) to fake protein content is old news in the food industry. The popularized theory no one could have guessed it could be in food is hogwash. Even the theory this particular combination wasn’t known to be deadly is unlikely.

    Both urea and cyanuric acid are FDA approved for use in ruminant feed in the US as a source of nonprotein nitrogen, but melamine is not. However, there’s no reason I’ve been able to discover why it wouldn’t be equally suitable for that purpose, unless it was known the potential for the two to end up in combination had to be avoided.

    As I’ve said before, it’s a moral dilema I find particularly difficult to resolve in my own mind, but if a guinea pig has to be used, I can’t help but feel it’s better to use a few in a lab, than to use the entire planet for one. That leaves the question if it’s moral to sacrifice the few to save the many. On the purely philosophical level, I don’t believe it is. Unfortunately, life in the real world doesn’t function on perfect ideals.

    As one man put it, “Nature is red of tooth and claw.”.

    When a lion tears out the throat of a deer to survive, who has the right to live, the lion or the deer?

    You can’t save them all, so somewhere along the line you have to make the hard choices in the real world where we live. Using common sense and compassion, while holding the middle ground, is about the best I can come up with. It isn’t perfect, and I know it, but I still think it’s better than holding either of the radical extremes.

  21. What I have experienced. In my area many of us oppose the care of dogs in puppy mills. We are peaceful protesters attend town meetings , write letters to the editor of papers , hold protests and organize petition drives.

    As a result we are subjected to false allegations made by mill operators( breaking and entering). We are subjected to having fire crackers thrown at our pets, shots fired at our homes. Yet the local police seem to ignore our complaints and the farm bureau has encouraged farmers , and mill operators to become the eyes and ears of the FBI in our state. I ask you who are the real terrorists? The peaceful protesters or the ones labeling us animal rights activists to use this as an excuse to futher errode and take away our constitutional rights?

  22. Amen, Klondike. Thanks for the input.

    As for Lis, you contradict yourself. “It is also not true that no animal experimentation is needed.” Then later, you say, “. . . computer modeling and other techniques are able to substitute for more and more of what used to be done with live animals.”

    Show us how and why experiments need be conducted on animals.

    Also, please defend the premise that experimentation done on innocent, unwilling creatures is in any way moral.

  23. Scientists ……….. are heartless , life of any animal ……… is a , ” thing “, to them , scientists , have no feeling , it is a breathing , animal , with all the parts , humans have , feel pain. I have seen cats , with wires to there brains , the pain , suffering , unbelievable , the Gov. scientists are the same , expermented on a mother dog , with gas’s , then her pups , threw them in the dumpster , some sailors found them , was only able to save one , in this day & age , with computers , there is no reason , for there cruel ways , There , so called research , is alway pain , suffering to animals , desposed of , like trash , & I am happy , ACTIVISTS are coming back to them , they need to understand , WHAT THE ANIMALS FEEL …….. FEAR ,PAIN , SUFFERING , & I have see , many , good scientists become Doctors , because , they didn’t want to be, a monster , causing pain , to healthy animals.
    VELVET’S DAD …………. said it : what right do we have , to take animals & abuse them ?………. they can not, speak for there self , Jesus Christ said ,” take care of the Animals ” ,never said , poison , put electric wire in there head , make them suffer , ” BRILLIANT MINDS ” don’t ,do that , but ………. SICK O , who like to see , pain & suffering do , if , it takes a warning , to get them to listen ………….. grate , let them find out , what …..FEAR ……. is like . This is a lot better , then , blowing up the building …………… just , go after the mad , unfeeling , uncaring , scientists , this happen in Germany , animals weren’t good enought , after a while , then ,they used , humans ……… REMEMBER ???
    I think , this Goverment is getting bad as China & some of , the other countrys , they let thing slid , they know , what is going on , when you lose feelings for animals ……… you arn’t much of a humane being.
    God help us all , if we turn our backs , & tell they weird sicentists ……….NO MORE…….or you go in the cage , get shocked , poison , then all that big money you have , won’t do you any good .
    Remember………….. a eye for a eye how many …….. have you put out ?? HOW many animal lives have you taken ???
    THANK YOU ACTIVISTS ……….. T.k.J. Thel

  24. I must Thank Thel Josenhans, Very well put!!! Brilliant response! You are 100% right on.

  25. I do not condone violence or threats…but would suggest that claims of such be taken with a very large grain of salt.

    Several years ago I participated in a animal rights march.

    You would not believe the security…police….sheriff…helicopters etc.

    The only violence I saw was that perpetuated by the police.

    They shot off tear gas with no provocation. ..shot off rubber bullets and nearly put out an eye…then made a horse back charge on a group that was simply standing on the sidewalk. I had to run to keep from being trampled by either a horse or the fleeing crowd.

    They tried to herd a large crowd down a narrow barrier….like so many cattle….and one was accidently knocked over….and this is when the police let go with the tear gas etc.

    I was threatened with arrest for the “crime” of sitting down on a bench by a parking garage.

    The crowd was peaceful at all times….YET ….the next day the paper had an article about how the police had to control the demonstrators when we tried to charge the buiding.

    This never happened as stated above.

    And guess who is being targeted as terrorists….animal rights people.

    Again….I have no use for AR people who threaten and break the law…but the vast majority do not.

  26. We have been at a low point before in this country, (see the photos), but within a couple of years, we were able to peacefully protest the war in safety again. We will get through this.
    “The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre,[2][3][4] occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. Four students were killed and nine others wounded, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.[5]

    Some of the students who were shot were protesting the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. However, other students who were shot were merely walking nearby or observing the protest at a distance.[6][7]

    There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of eight million students, and the event further divided the country along political lines.”

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
    — Abraham Lincoln

  27. Klondike,

    Actually, Kent State was a sunny Sunday stroll along the beach compared to other events in our Nation’s history.

    For an overview of the history of labor in the US, this one should knock the rose colored glass out of most views of how things work in a “free country”.

    Oops! I forgot. Unions are evil. I know it’s true as I heard it on General Electric owned NBC network, with controls 35% of the US media, and also happens to be one of the biggest defense contractors on the face of the planet.

  28. Thank you, Stephani, Doglover, Klondike, Hazel, Thel, and Don Earl–all of you–for great input. If only the world would wake up and see things as they really exist.

  29. I have to say that I believe the reports of lawless AR activists are exaggerated. The AETA is proof that our government is willing to criminalize free speech activities when they threaten to uncover the dirty little secrets of agribusiness and the like. I don’t condone murder or property destruction but I believe Hazel — reports of such are drastically exaggerated. Meanwhile what do they do about abortion clinic bombers? They don’t have their own “AETA” – Abortion Enterprise Terrorism Act. Killed 7 people so far I believe.

    The government is in cahoots with industrty to hide the truth about “animal enterprises.” — what they are afraid of is the truth getting out.


  30. Woody Guthrie…

    The enemy of the state then…
    “Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection: An Overview
    The photograph that has become known as “Migrant Mother” is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month’s trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:

    I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).”

  31. “As close as I can tell, all media reports to the contrary, the use of nonprotein nitrogen sources (including everything associated with the recall) to fake protein content is old news in the food industry. The popularized theory no one could have guessed it could be in food is hogwash. Even the theory this particular combination wasn’t known to be deadly is unlikely. ”

    Don Earl, I have been telling people this from the beginning of the pet food recall. I even wrote IAMs and told them they should have known and caught it. Of course I was totally ignored by them. But it felt good to write the accusation to them and the FDA. You are right that it is a hard call as to whether we need animal testing or not etc. But we do need to try.

    As for the persons threatening the university scientists this way, I can only say what I would tell my kids: TWO WRONGS DONT MAKE A RIGHT!

    Let us all work the best we know how to stand up for the innocent in this world. Let us study and understand the issues so we can intelligently debate them and know we have done our best to do what is right.

  32. I am disappointed to see such a one-sided smear job type article published on Itchmo. I agree that there is a lot to intelligently debate about the issue of animal experimentation in general.

    Most of us at least would be in agreement that making sure that what experiments are done are not painful is a priority and that budgets and institution prestige is secondary to that concern.

    Also laboratory confinement for certain species of animals causes suffering even in the best situations, and should be limited and done only when there is a very tangible benefit to animals or humans as a whole.

    Both sides on the polarized ends of the spectrum on this issue need to follow the law and if public funding is involved, then the researchers must honor Freedom of Information Act requests. UCLA is not doing so currently. There is no good reason for them to provocative or arrogant towards the public.

    It was FOIA obtained documents that blew the whistle on the abuses at the University of WA. The public has a right to know if their money is being spent unwisely or cruelly. There is plenty of private money available for biotech research, anyway. The Gates Foundation just donated 25 million to research at WSU and another several million to GMO rice research being done in the Phillipines.

    I am beginning to question whether or not public monies should be allocated to certain types of research at all in the U.S. The public does not have equal access to health care in this country and few will benefit from research to extend lifespans or cure rare disorders as only a fraction of those few that get those rare diseases can afford treatment.

    I think we should spend more money on basic public health and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure now. We could also help more people’s health overall by increasing access to healthy foods.

    I think the reason so much extremism exists on both sides of the issue is that moderates have been keeping their heads in the sand and pretending that vested interest groups can monitor and regulate themselves.

    Same thing with the pet food industry and we know how that has worked out.

  33. What is a Puppy Mill?
    By Legal definition there is no such thing as a Puppy Mill. Why? One must ask how legislation is being made against a term with no legal definition? And also ask what types of people commit themselves to groups who are against a term with no legal definition? One also must ask the professionalism and education of those who freely use a term that has no definition. A civil rights movement was made against similar hate terms.
    The Term Puppy Mill is used to bring on emotion. Animals, especially our dogs can be almost like children to us. The thought of intentionally harming a child or defenseless animal brings on a knee jerk reaction of pure hatred in most humans. Unlike other terms used to divide, hate and caused dangerous finger pointing. The Term Puppy Mill can bring on almost dangerous responses, causing regular citizens to join in a battle against something they have never seen or witnessed first hand.
    Like the Term Teacup when used to describe a smaller dog. The Term Puppy Mill is a marketing Term. Non profit rescues have learned that placing the term Puppy Mill next to their inventory, will cause it to be sold very rapidly. In all Honestly if the thousands of groups wanted to end the ideal of the term Puppy Mill to the supposed 10,000 of them residing in the USA. All the groups had to do with their hundreds of millions if not billions of un-taxable donations was to use the money to educate kennels and also use the money in research to bring the living conditions to that of what they deem Humane. That said they should start firstly with their own facilities.
    Many kill shelters euthanize puppies and dogs for a simple common cold many times labeled a Upper respiratory infection (URI) , or Kennel Cough. Instead of killing these animals for an infection that can be self eliminating a needed study could have been done to end it. As with leukemia in cats that helped discover a cure for leukemia in children. that study may have found and end to the common cold. Yet these organizations are against animal study even if it means saving animals themselves.
    To say ALL pet stores buy from Puppy Mills. And that ALL licensed and inspected USDA commercial kennels are dirty Puppy Mills. Comes from a thought process that many Americans hoped would have been outgrown in today’s Society. By Supporting your local Pet Store which sells Puppies and Kittens you are helping to eliminate the need for the Term Puppy Mill. But first Pet Stores need the billions of lost taxable income back into their hands so they can do the right thing . To once and for all end the 60 year battle against a term that has matured into a pure marking tool, to take jobs and taxable income away from hard working Americans.

  34. I am a neuroscientist who does animal research on mice.

    I am also a pet lover who currently takes care of cats and dogs. I have shared my home with pet rats (adopted after an experiment ended), birds, and lizards over the years.

    Most of my fellow students and faculty are similar. We have families and pets of our own at home. We have a respect for life and for the animals we use — if you don’t feel awe at the complexity of life, you do not become a scientist. If you don’t appreciate the similarity between animals and people, you aren’t a very good scientist.

    I’ll let you in on some inside information — most scientists do not enjoy hurting and killing animals. If science had advanced to the point where we didn’t need to use animals, most researchers wouldn’t. Animal research not only is unenjoyable, but it’s much more expensive than experiments that don’t use animals. The link that was mentioned earlier about the scalded monkey is disgusting, and it is true that some abuses occur, but I have worked my entire career in reputable and well-run animal facilities, and never seen any gratuitous maltreatment of research animals.

    Someone brought up computer modeling as an alternative. Computer modeling does work for some things, but a computer model is only as good as the information that you already have to put into it. Bodies are incredibly complex. Individual systems and organs are slightly less complex. Single cells are less complex still — but one cell is so unfathomably intricate that scientists only know a little bit about how cells work. So animals still have to be used, to find out the basic information about how the body actually works, and how different drugs might interact with parts of the body, that might go into computer models. Furthermore, any model that was as good as pre-clinical animal trials at finding dangerous side effects of drugs would end up being so immensely complicated that no computer that currently exists in the world would be powerful enough to run the simulation in a useful amount of time. The model would have to include all the interactions between all the proteins in all the cells of all the systems of the body.

    At the moment, animal research is the only hope we have of understanding how our brains (and the rest of our bodies work), and is our best hope for curing terrible diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, and virtually any other currently-incurable disease you can think of. I love animals, but I value humans more than mice. Having watched people suffer through horrible deaths from long-lasting, devastating illnesses, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to save my fellow humans from that fate. Animals will be helped too — my dog’s life was saved last year with medicines that were developed using animal research. If you truly oppose finding cures for terrible illnesses, then I suggest that you continue supporting anti-research groups. I also hope that you are a vegan, and that you don’t go to the doctor when you are ill — any treatment you are likely to receive would have come from research performed in animals.

    What was done to Dario Ringach was terrible and disgusting. Even if “animal rights” terrorists want to kill me and my colleagues, they lose all credibility when they attack our homes, where our families and our pets also live. Do my children and my dogs deserve to be threatened in their house because my moral compass does not align with the ALF? This sort of terrorism may drive some researchers out of our field, which is a tragedy resulting in the deaths of patients for whom cures will now come too late, but many of us will never give in to a terrorist’s agenda. In the end, the terrorists just defeat themselves — stifling legitimate dialogues between researchers and animal-rights activists that could actually result in lessening animal use without jeopardizing the validity of our research, and compromising their own moral principles. A group of people committed to ending the unnecessary suffering of living beings that feel pain should not be fire-bombing their fellow humans’ houses.

  35. Understanding the nature of behaviour problems is essential to developing a rational basis for their treatment. Behaviour problems arise as a result of an interaction between factors relating to the current environment and developmental factors within a patient of a given state. Not all behaviour problems represent dysfunctional, abnormal or maladaptive behaviour since “the problem is the not the animal’s behaviour per se but rather the problem that this behaviour poses for its owner”. Broadly speaking behaviour problems may be divided into behaviours which are adaptive but inconvenient for the owner, those which are derived from attempts to behave in an adaptive way in a suboptimal environment and those which are truly maladaptive e.g. seizure activity.

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  37. It’s so unfortunate that research still needs to be done on animals in some cases. Hopefully in the near future there will be more alternatives.

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