Background: Animal research at UCLA

World-class scientists at UCLA utilize laboratory animals in research in an ongoing quest for knowledge that benefits society. This research has enhanced our understanding of how the human body functions and led to the development of lifesaving procedures and medicines — among them radiation therapy and other cancer treatments, open-heart surgery, fetal circulatory health treatments, organ transplantation, mental health treatments and vaccines. There is overwhelming agreement among physicians and scientists worldwide that laboratory animals provide irreplaceable and invaluable models for human systems.
Research involving laboratory animals at UCLA is heavily monitored and subject to stringent and multiple federal laws and university regulations. All requests to utilize animals in research undergo a rigorous review by an independent committee of well-informed scientists, veterinarians and members of the general public to ensure scientific necessity and humane treatment. The review requires an extensive search for alternatives to minimize the use of animals.
For several years, UCLA researchers and administrators have been subjected to an organized campaign of harassment intended to halt the use of all animals in research. This has included the firebombing of a UCLA commuter van and a private vehicle, the placing of incendiary devices on the doorsteps of private residences and under vehicles, vandalism, and threatening phone calls and e-mails. UCLA police and the FBI are investigating some of these as acts of domestic terrorism. In addition, anonymous anti–animal research extremists have made multiple unfounded claims of sabotage.
In March 2010, one anti-animal research extremist pleaded guilty and another pleaded no contest to stalking and other felony charges in connection with the harassment of UCLA researchers. In May 2009, UCLA obtained a permanent injunction that prohibits the harassment of personnel involved in animal research, and the university is vigorously enforcing the court order. In December 2011, a federal judge upheld the constitutionality of a Los Angeles city ordinance that has been critical to UCLA's efforts to protect its researchers from anti–animal research extremists. In September 2008, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law legislation that provides essential new tools that enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute those responsible for harassment and other illegal activity.
In February 2012, three UCLA professors were recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their "strong defense of the importance of the use of animals in research and their refusal to remain silent in the face of intimidation" by anti–animal research extremists.
UCLA condemns in the strongest possible terms the deplorable tactics utilized by anti–animal research extremists. Violence and threats are not free speech. Read A Target of Violence in UCLA Magazine.
UCLA remains steadfast in its commitment to the legal use of laboratory animals in research for the benefit of society. Discontinuing all animal research would diminish hope for millions of people with AIDS, cancer, heart disease and other ailments.
Selected UCLA advances where animal research was a factor:
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