Pro-Test: Standing Up For Science
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11/04/10

Permalink 12:26:59 am, by Tom, 721 words, 2234 views   English (UK)
Categories: News

Pro-Test for Science have success in LA

Read more about Pro-Test for Science

On a beautiful sunny day in Los Angeles, Pro-Test for Science (A US side project of Pro-Test) organisers arrived at the junction of Le Conte and Westwood, on the edge of the UCLA campus, with armfuls of placards in support of animal research. Within ten minutes every placard had found a new owner as hundreds of scientists, students and members of the public showed up to support the cause. Those gathering chatted together, sharing their reasons for attending the rally.

Marchers Gather

Those participating were not limited to the UCLA community. Faculty from University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology, and California State University - Los Angeles, all came out to demonstrate their support for lifesaving medical research using animals. Soon the chants began to ring out - "Penicillin? ANIMAL RESEARCH! Insulin? ANIMAL RESEARCH! Vaccines? ANIMAL RESEARCH! Anaesthetics? ANIMAL RESEARCH!" A short while later, when the crowd had swelled further, the rally set off towards the center of the UCLA campus.

The marchers begin to walk towards the center of the UCLA

The mood was one of excitement and passion. Those participating exchanged ideas for public outreach in the future - sharing the best of ways of explaining to the public the clear connection between animal research and medical benefits. The rally continued to snake along Westwood and up towards Wilson Plaza.
Those at the front were unable to see the back of the rally!

As the rally turned into Wilson Plaza, passing the top of Bruin Walk, hundreds of students turned their heads towards the march, many shouting words of encouragement or joining in the rally.

Eventually the tail end of the rally reached the destination (some time after the front end due to the length), and Tom Holder brought the crowd together for a picture perfect moment of solidarity before shouting "What do we need?". "Animal Research" replied the hundreds of voices in unison.

David Jentsch at the Pro-Test rally 2010

Holder then introduced the first speaker, Prof. David Jentsch - founder of Pro-Test for Science and member of the Speaking of Research committee - who took the microphone to rapturous applause. David spoke of the progress of Pro-Test for Science, and the struggle against animal rights extremists in UCLA. He took the time to thank each of the individuals who had made the 2010 rally possible eliciting a cheer from the crowd as each name was called. Jentsch then passed over to Tom Holder, founder of Speaking of Research.

Tom Holder at the Pro-Test for Science Rally

Holder thanked the crowd, insisting that UCLA were winning in their battle against extremists. However he warned the crowd against complacency - saying that public outreach was the only way to win this battle in the long run. Holder also announced the success of the Pro-Test Petition, which had gained 11,621 signatures over the previous year (including Nobel Prize Laureates, and every chancellor in the UC system, including UC President Mark Yudof). He finished by announcing the presentation of the signatures to Dr. Kevin Quinn, Dr. Michael Steinmetz.

Dr. Quinn, the Chief of Behavioural Science and Intergrative Neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), accepted one copy of the petition on behalf of NIMH. Quinn spoke of the important role that animal research has in our understanding of Mental Health problems:

"Animal research conducted in a humane, ethical and responsible manner is absolutely critical … to understand, treat and cure mental disorders"

Dr. Michael Steinmetz, program director of the National Eye Institute, talked of the medical breakthroughs in vision. He spoke particularly of Leber's congenital amaurosis, a form of blindess which affects thousands of people across the United States. Through research in mice and then dogs (Briards), scientists found a way of inserting a gene into the eye through a virus, which could corect the problem.

"The National Eye Institute supports strongly the use of appropriate animal models in research, not just for the big clinical advances but for the many, many years of basic science that it takes to discover the underlying biological principles"

Jentsch then returned to the stage to introduce UC Executive Vice-Chancellor, Scott Waugh. Waugh offered his continued support to researchers at UCLA, mentioning that the Pro-Test for Science movement has played an important role in bolstering support for research. He congratulated Jentsch and Ringach for organizing the February pabel debate, explaining that "violence, threats and other criminal activity are never a viable alternative to dialogue".

Jentsch and Holder finished the rally by talking of the importance of continued education and outreach.

06/04/10

Permalink 01:59:20 am, by Tom, 422 words, 1846 views   English (UK)
Categories: News

Pro-Test for Science - Thursday April 8th 2010 - Stand up for Science

A message from our US sister organisations: Speaking of Research and Pro-Test for Science:

Promoting Science and Rejecting Extremism

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V2RfzEu8g8]
Please check www.speakingofresearch.com and www.pro-test-for-science.org regularly for updates and further communications. For further information contact:
David Jentsch – j.david.jentsch@gmail.com – +1 310 825 8258
Tom Holder – tom@speakingofresearch.com - +1 310 498 0881

Notes to Editors:

  1. The rally will take place from 11:30am, Thurday April 8th 2010 on the north-east corner of Westwood Blvd and Le Conte Ave.

  2. Further speakers are to be confirmed

  3. Report of the 2009 rally: http://speakingofresearch.com/get-involved/ucla-pro-test/ http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local-beat/West-Side-Story-Scientists-Activists-Face-Off-at-UCLA.html

  4. Pro-test for Science was formed in March 2009 by David Jentsch:
    See www.pro-test-for-science.org

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