Building on efforts to promote the importance of lifesaving research involving animals, UCLA has placed a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times urging people to sign a petition.
The ad, published Sunday, Oct. 18, asks readers to sign the Pro-Test petition stating that ethical and humane animal research is a critical cornerstone in our understanding of basic biological processes and the development of new treatments and therapies such as cancer medicines, antibiotics, vaccines and organ transplants. More than 10,000 people, including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, have signed the petition since it was circulated in April.
"It's important that UCLA demonstrate strong support for researchers who have been subjected to violence and harassment by anti–animal research extremists and that the public understand the vital role animal research at UCLA plays in improving our lives," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "It's equally important that the public understand that lab animals are utilized only when no alternative exists, that UCLA is committed to the highest standards of care and that research is subjected to strict oversight, including unannounced inspections, by federal regulators."
The ad builds on a Foundation for Biomedical Research public outreach campaign, which includes billboards in Los Angeles.
It comes six months after UCLA researchers, students and supporters formed Pro-Test for Science to demonstrate support for animal research, counter misinformation promulgated by extremists and denounce violence and harassment. The group staged a rally in April that attracted some 700 people to campus.
"UCLA has been very supportive of my work and that of other researchers who utilize lab animals, and the advertisement placed by the campus is a welcome public demonstration of that support," said David Jentsch, a UCLA professor of psychology and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and a leader of Pro-Test for Science.
Jentsch founded the group after extremists claimed responsibility for blowing up his car. "We cannot allow misguided anti–animal research extremists to go unchallenged," he said.
The advertisement was timed to coincide with National Primate Liberation Week, when extremists typically post and distribute misleading or false information about animal research. Pro-Test for Science is asking supporters to gather at the corner of Westwood Boulevard and LeConte Avenue from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, to counter a candlelight vigil announced by anti-research activists.