Saturday, April 18, 2009

Animal Testing Themes in TV, and the "Pro-Test" Scene

Noticed two TV shows last week; Numbers and Fringe, had a theme of "animal rights activists" breaking into labs and releasing the animals. As usual, the activists were depicted as screeching, lacking-in-social-skills college student losers.

tried to maintain a balance of sorts, with one scientist/academic on the side, in philosophical terms, of the animal rights activists. Fringe used the device of animals used for research, and their liberation, for the plot, which was the usual Fortean weirdness, this time concerning a man made hybrid creature. I love Fringe, and I'm not making a negative judgement on that, just making an observation.

On the heels of both those shows I read in the news this morning that scientists in Los Angeles have formed a group at UCLA defending the use of animals in research. Headed by neuroscientist J. David Jentsch, the group plans a demonstration at UCLA on April 22nd. The date was selected with a purpose; for that's the date animal rights activists have planned for their own protests. The group is based on the Pro-Test movement started in England in 2006, which was started by Tom Holder. Holder says of animal rights supporters that they are "extremists" and "it is fantastic scientists are finally finding their voice . . ."

The "Pro-Test" event is, comments Jentsch:
"an attempt to repair some o fhte trauma that people have felt, through solidarity and shared experiences."

Scientists involved in the use of animals for their research have been victims of harassment that goes beyond the release of animals, or vandalism of labs; they have had their cars bombed, for example. UCLA has had ten arsons and several threats over the last three years, and, these kinds of acts and others are considered "domestic terrorism" by the federal government.

Jentsch insists his use of animals is "humane" and uses the animals in a "regulated way," whatever that means.

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