Science + Technology

Statement of UCLA Chancellor Gene Block regarding animal rights extremists

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In a press release today, an animal-rights extremist group claimed responsibility for the recent vandalism at the home of a UCLA professor who conducts research involving the use of laboratory animals. The group, which calls itself the Animal Liberation Front, also made ominous threats against the professor.
 
I condemn in the strongest possible terms this deplorable and illegal act of extreme vandalism, which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in damage, and I reiterate the university’s steadfast commitment to the legal use of animals in research to benefit society. At UCLA, we are determined to expose and seek prosecution of extremists intent on harming people who have devoted their careers to conducting research that ultimately enhances or even saves lives.
 
For several years, members of the UCLA faculty and administration have been subjected to violence, harassment and other forms of intimidation by extremists. This has included the attempted firebombings of a private residence and a vehicle, which are being investigated by the FBI as acts of domestic terrorism, as well as threatening phone calls, e-mails, and property trespass and damage. Such tactics are beyond contemptible, have no place in a civilized society and are completely unacceptable methods to achieve a political or policy goal.
 
All research involving laboratory animals at UCLA is conducted in compliance with stringent and multiple federal laws and university policies intended to ensure humane care. This research has enhanced understanding of how the human body functions and has led to the development of lifesaving procedures and medicines, including radiation therapy and other cancer treatments, open-heart surgery, mental health treatments, and vaccines. The faculty member whose home was recently vandalized conducts groundbreaking research aimed at better understanding and treating nicotine and methamphetamine addiction and other neuropsychiatric disorders that afflict millions of people.
 
Like many UCLA professors who have been targeted, this faculty member's research has been the subject of public records requests by public interest groups as well as animal rights extremists. It is unfortunate that this information is being utilized by animal rights extremists to identify UCLA faculty members and then to harass them and threaten their lives.
 
UCLA, the FBI and various law enforcement units are offering a $170,000 reward for information leading to the conviction and arrest of those responsible for the attempted firebombings. I encourage parties with information about the criminal activities of animal rights extremists, including this latest despicable action, to contact the FBI at (310) 477-6565.
 
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