News Index > Apr-Aug 2006 > Aug 2006
UCLA Experiment Research Transparency Due

The submission by UCLA Vice Chancellor of Research Roberto Peccei ("Extremists target legitimate research," Aug. 21) suggests only terrorists protest the use of animals in research. In fact, many law-abiding individuals protest animal research that has little benefit to human health and comes at the cost of great suffering for animals.

UCLA prevents the public from verifying how researchers are using these animals. Even when research documents from federally funded experiments are requested by way of the Freedom of Information Act, UCLA responds with such documents so heavily redacted that it is impossible to make sense of them. These efforts to maintain secrecy suggest that the university has much to hide.

It is also not the case, as the vice chancellor suggests, that research on animals is tightly regulated. California's state anti-cruelty laws do not apply to animal research.

The federal Animal Welfare Act, the only legal regulatory device available, does not regulate research design since it deals only with husbandry requirements for some of the animals in research labs.

Approximately 90 percent of the animals used by researchers (rats and mice) are not included in the definition of animals covered by the act. They receive absolutely no protection at all.
I call upon the vice chancellor to institute a policy of transparency for UCLA's labs. Researchers should participate in campus discussion on animal research, not simply issue statements claiming their work is

UCLA now has the opportunity to set the standard for transparency, leading the way for other institutions and creating an open forum for discussion.

Rietveld is a UCLA law student and member of the UCLA Animal Law Society.

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