UCLA alumna Stephanie Terronez protests animal
testing in front of the MacDonald Medical Research Laboratory,
in the UCLA Medical Center, Thursday.
During demonstrations Thursday
morning in front of UCLA Medical Center laboratories and buildings, about
15 animal rights protestors asked, "Hey UCLA, what do you say? How many
animals did you kill today?"
The demonstration was organized by
University Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals who argue UCLA is
wasting taxpayers' dollars on the inhumane and unethical treatment of
animals used in laboratory experiments.
"The university spends
millions of dollars a year on redundant health research," said Peter Ryan,
a third-year civil and environmental engineering student, and one of the
organizers of the event. Ryan said money is being wasted because research
on animals has not created any medical advances and in some cases has even
A statement from the UCLA media relations office
claimed the contrary, maintaining that medical research on animals at UCLA
is effective and important.
"UCLA's world-class medical research
program saves lives and improves the quality of life for millions of
people, and animal research has played an essential role in many of our
most significant medical discoveries," the statement read. "Research
involving laboratory animals has laid the groundwork for numerous
lifesaving procedures and medicines, including cardiopulmonary
resuscitation, open-heart surgery and the polio vaccine," the statement
Ryan said he and two other students founded USETA this
fall out of a concern for how animals were treated in the laboratories.
"Every year, our tax dollars fund experiments that burn, blind,
poison, scald, electrocute, maim, paralyze, traumatize, starve, inject
with drugs, infect with disease and otherwise torture animals," read one
of the fliers the group was passing out.
Amanda Banks, president
of the California Biomedical Research Association, said researchers must
pass inspection from a number of institutions such as the National
Institute of Health.
In order to facilitate any research on
animals, they "must prove that (they've) used all the alternative methods
available and that the research is needed and productive," Banks said.
"The UC system is one of the cleanest, and most regulated, with
state and local oversight, research facilities," she said.
were only a handful of protestors at the demonstration, and police,
security and university administration easily outnumbered them and
followed the group as they chanted in front of different buildings.
Some police officers stopped a truck as they drove into the
medical center, and a pizza delivery man was stopped before he entered one
of the buildings where the protestors were demonstrating. In front of the
MacDonald Medical Research Laboratory, second-year biochemistry student
David Nguyen, who was not part of the event, couldn't enter the building
where he worked because seven police officers on bicycles had blocked the
entrance as protestors chanted outside it.
"They said they were
going to go to the labs," said Nancy Greenstein, director of police
community services. "You want to err on the side of caution."
Greenstein said no one was arrested during the demonstration and
the group eventually disbanded.
Berky Nelson, director of student
programming, said the amount of security had to do with the aggressive
nature of previous protests with groups like USETA.
Nelson said he
was worried about the demonstrators disrupting research, causing vandalism
and intimidating faculty, and that he just wanted to "make certain
everyone's rights are