Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Activists Again Raise Awareness to Cruelty Behind the Doors of UCLA


Animal Rights Activists Protest Over UCLA Research Practices


POSTED: 6:50 pm PDT October 9, 2006

WESTWOOD, Calif. -- Chanting "UCLA has blood on its hands" and other slogans, about a dozen animal rights activists marched at the Westwood campus Monday, demanding that the university change its research practices on monkeys and other primates.

The demonstrators say the animals are abused in the interest of science, allegations that UCLA officials deny.

In a letter sent last month to animal rights activist Michael Budkie, UCLA acting Chancellor Norman Abrams wrote that "all UCLA research involving animals is conducted in compliance with multiple, state, federal and university regulations established to ensure humane treatment. Furthermore, as you know, documents regarding UCLA's animal research program are subject to public information law."

The protest, which began about 10:30 a.m., took place under watchful eyes of campus police officers -- some on bicycles -- and there were no reports of arrests or trouble.

After marching on campus, the demonstrators took their complaints to the chancellor's office, where they met with Laurence Lokman, an assistant vice chancellor for communications.

In a telephone interview, activist Chris DeRose and Budkie said the demonstrators were told Abrams would not meet with them because campus officials believe the activists support using violence to achieve their goals.

DeRose said the activists "believe in the sanctity of all life and we would not be violent or injure a human being."

"They wanted us to come out and denounce the activities of other animal activists," DeRose said. "I don't know a single, solitary person in this movement who knows how to make a bomb. No one has ever been killed, slapped, hit or hurt."

On Aug. 29, the FBI offered a $60,000 reward for information about an attempted attack on a UCLA researcher.

In a July 11 report on its Web site, the Animal Liberation Front said it had left the device at the home of a UCLA researcher in Bel Air on June 30, FBI spokesman Kenneth Smith said.

Los Angeles Fire Department investigators said the device -- which failed to ignite -- was left at the wrong house, a residence actually occupied by a 70-year-old woman and her male tenant. The address was not disclosed.

"The ALF has yet to admit their potentially deadly error," Smith said in a statement. "The incendiary device used was similar to devices used by animal rights and environmental extremists."

The device, which contained a flammable liquid, was left at the victim's door, Smith said.

"It is the opinion of arson investigators that if the device had functioned properly, escape would have been difficult to impossible, given the hillside location of the house, possibly resulting in the death of the inhabitants of the residence," Smith said.

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