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Pro-Test: standing up for science
Pro-Test: Standing Up For Science
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Post details: UCLA Stands Up for Science

23/04/09

Permalink 07:25:15 pm, by Tom, 534 words, 2555 views   English (UK)
Categories: News

UCLA Stands Up for Science

Pro-Test salutes the 800 academics, citizens and students who rallied yesterday to show support for scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) who have faced threats, harassment and arson from animal rights extremists. UCLA Pro-Test, an organisation founded by neuroscientist David Jentsch, and a number of other scientists who have also been the victims of animal rights extremism in California, made a decisive stand for animal research and sent a clear message to animal rights extremists that "enough is enough".

As the rally stretched close to a quarter of a mile long Jentsch remarked that "I hope this rally lessens the sense of helplessness and fear that has pervaded our community, We’re just not going to take the harassment anymore", while fellow neuroscientist Neurology Professor Claude Westerlain, who uses animals in his research on epilepsy, said he came to the rally to oppose the terror tactics that some of his colleagues have faced.

"Even the [activists] with good intentions are mistaken when they say there is no need for animal research. There is no way to do research on epilepsy without animals, and the suffering we relieve is enormous. Animal research saves lives. There is no medical progress without it."

Among those attending the rally was UCLA neuroscientist Dario Ringach, who announced in 2006 that he would give up his animal research if activists would stop harassing him and his family but is now a member of the UCLA Pro-Test committee.

"I came because I don't think people should have to face a choice between the security of their family and their research" he said "I came to defend academic research and academic freedom."

UK Pro-Test member, Tom Holder, who recently founded Pro-Test's sister organisation in the US, Speaking of Research, flew across to the US to assist with the rally. Speaking at the rally he announced The Pro-Test Petition which supports biomedical research and condemns violent tactics used to campaign against it.

Well done to everyone who joined the Pro-Test UCLA rally, and especially to those brave scientists who made it happen!

Things have also also been busy on this side of the pond.

First the good news from Cancer Research UK that deaths from breast cancer are at their lowest levels for 40 years, an achievement that can be attributed to both improvements in screening that allows tumours to be detected earlier and new treatments discovered through animal research.

Second, as you may have heard the European Union is currently engaged in a much needed overhaul of its rules on the use of animals in medical research, and at the beginning of May MEPs will debate the proposed revisions in a plenary session of the EU Parliament. This revision is an opportunity to shape the future of medical research in Europe, if the new rules are sensible they will safeguard animal welfare while encouraging and facilitating top class research, if not then they have the potential to stifle much vital research throughout the EU and turn Europe into a medical research backwater. So if you haven't done so already we strongly encourage you to write to your MEPs and remind them to Remember the Patients when they vote in two weeks time.

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