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General News    H2'ed 9/4/14

Animal Experimenters Jeer and Threaten Protestors Near UCLA Campus

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It was reminiscent of the throngs that greeted African-American schoolgirl Elizabeth Eckford when she tried to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957 and James Meredith when he tried to desegregate the University of Mississippi in 1962. An angry mob of as many as 40 UCLA animal experimenters and their supporters jeered and yelled obscenities and threats at 11 peaceful demonstrators who had gathered on a public street, near the UCLA campus and the home of a UCLA animal researcher. The protestors were holding a silent vigil in honor of eleven primates held in UCLA research labs.

"Go home!" "F---You!" jeered the pro research counter demonstrators, their faces contorted with rage, their middle fingers extended. "You kill people!" they chanted. Some pro animal research protesters became so livid they had to be restrained by police. It was hard to believe the mob was, by day, men and women of "science" dedicated to advancing human medicine.

Why were the experimenters and their allies enraged? A group called Progress for Science dares to question taxpayer funded primate research conducted at UCLA--experiments like exposing primates to methamphetamine to study addiction and injecting pregnant monkeys with the endocrine disrupter bisphenol A to study the effects on development of infants. While the group says it is against all animal research, it has particularly focused on the non-human primate research occurring at UCLA. Opinion has begun to reverse about some primate research. Last year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it would begin retiring most of its chimpanzees from biomedical research. Chimps are "our closest relatives," said NIH director, Dr. Francis S. Collins.

But doesn't animal research such "saves lives"? That is certainly what the government/research university complex hopes we think. But if you follow the money, you see it has much more to do with "pork" than innovation or breakthroughs. NIH is the biggest funder of animal research in the United States, doling out over $12 billion for animal experiments. The lavish animal research NIH grants--of which UCLA is the 10th largest recipient--don't just fund the experimenters' comfortable lifestyles, Dr. Carol Glasser, a co-founder of Progress for Science, told me. They fund the research institutions themselves. "Fifty percent or more" of the animal grants are skimmed off by the university says Dr. Glasser, professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, Mankato and a co-founder of Progress for Science.

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Yet what does all that money buy? Consider the millions of NIH dollars that have funded experiments of UCLA researcher Edythe London. For almost thirty years, the animal researcher has addicted primates to methamphetamine and nicotine to reveal that" methamphetamine and nicotine are addictive! If London's work seems repetitive, it is repetitive says Dr. Glasser. "It is easier to extend an NIH grant than write a new one."

A government grant allocated $3.6 million on experiments to study how heroin, crystal meth, and Angel Dust affect menstruating monkeys, says White Coat Waste, a new watchdog group exposing tax payer funded animal experiments.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by (more...)

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