Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United States

Bruins for Animals sponsors PETA speaker event

By Daniel Schonhaut
Oct. 23, 2009 at 1:40 a.m.

'We know remarkable things about animals, including their ability to feel physical and psychological pain,' said Alka Chandna, laboratory oversight specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Chandna spoke to a gathering of about 40 people in Ackerman Lobby on Wednesday, which was sponsored by the student group Bruins for Animals.

The speech lasted for about an hour, after which a question and answer session was held.

Chandna said universities nationwide are performing unethical experiments on tens of millions of laboratory animals each year. She criticized federal regulations for failing to set appropriate standards for research.

'In the U.S., virtually nothing is prohibited,' she said. 'Animals live in cages where they have no choice. They live lives of incredible deprivation.'

Chandna called out a number of UCLA animal researchers for performing what she deemed to be unethical practices. She encouraged students to demand increased transparency from the administration.

A small group of UCLA researchers attended the event at the invitation of Bruins for Animals.

David Jentsch, an associate professor of psychology and the founder of Pro-Test at UCLA, said he thought Chandna covered the right issues with the wrong answers.

'(Chandna) chose subsets of facts, partial stories and innuendo to arrive at an answer that I think is not defensible,' Jentsch said.

He added that UCLA, along with most universities, has received a high accreditation for animal research that extends beyond what federal laws mandate.

Jentsch criticized Chandna's decision to directly attack UCLA researchers.

'She presented information about individual identities when she knows this is a place where researchers have gotten bombed,' he said. 'Beyond that the content was misleading.'

Jentsch said that while he disagreed with much of what Chandna had to say, he believes most animal rights supporters act with good intentions.

Melissa Freeland, the vice president of Bruins for Animals and a fourth-year geography student, said she was glad to hear both sides of the animal rights and research issue.

'I really enjoyed the speech. I thought it was informative and engaging,' Freeland said.

She added that she wished more people had come to the event and encouraged interested students to attend a speech by Dr. Ray Greek on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Building A51.

Greek, the president of Americans for Medical Advancement, will discuss alternatives to animal research.

'We're trying to host this middle ground between researchers and extremists and to start a dialogue between the two sides,' Freeland said.

ss66 wrote:

"The pain in addiction is when you lose your relationships, lose your children, lose your job, when your health goes down. Animals don't suffer those things," he said. "They suffer none of the psychosocial pain that is what addiction is all about." David Jentsch, LA Times 4/13/09.

Jentsch is a hypocrite. He conveniently simplifies the facts about psychosocial relationships in vervets to justify his own purposes and ignore their isolation and suffering. In a recent peer-reviewed article, researchers found that vervet monkeys exhibit complex social behaviors (the same Jentsch studies) and exchange grooming for food and other benefits much like humans use currency, even going so far as adapting exchange rates based on demand. This behavioral research was performed in the wild, no animals were held captive, drugged, or killed.

"Nonproviders could have groomed the [food] provider to improve their affiliative bond with her. Candidate neurobiological mechanisms are those usually connected to trust, pair bonding, and friendship, such as increased titers of oxytocin, vasopressin, and endorphins, which notably follow friendly forms of touching. The attitude toward a groupmember can be improved by any good or service received from that individual, but grooming is the standard service every vervet has handy. Grooming to gain trust is... based on multiple interactions in which the more recent interactions tend to weigh more than those from a more distant past... but the idea remains the same: the animals are assumed to be driven by emotions reminiscent of those felt by humans toward friends."
watch this video on vervets and social drinking behaviors:
3:17 p.m. Oct. 23, 2009

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