You may have heard by now that there was a rally yesterday at UCLA for Pro-Test, where scientists and the public in support of responsible animal research gathered to protest the violence and threats that have plagued the UCLA scientific community. The rally featured Dr. David Jentsch, a scientist who's car recently was firebombed by animal rights activists.
Sci was so excited that the UCLA scientists were standing up for themselves (unfortunately she had to be there in spirit and over the internet), but will admit that she was following the Pro-Test anxiously on Twitter (@dosmonos) all day. With it being "Animal Liberation Week" and with all the violence that has occurred there before, I was terrified that something would happen. In a way, the people who showed up at the rally have put their safety on the line. Many groups will not hesitate to threaten your work, your property, and your life. So Sci was first incredibly happy that every got through safe and sound, and that no rocks were thrown, and in fact, there were only about 30 ARAs that even showed up.
But then she got the really good news. Over 700 people showed up at the rally in support of responsible animal research! Not only that, there's a petition, with over 165 signatures from scientists and others stating that:
1. That animal research has contributed and continues to contribute to major advances in the length and quality of our lives. It remains vital to understanding basic biological processes and for the development of new treatments and therapies such as antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and cancer medicines.
2. That animal research is morally justifiable provided animal welfare remains a high priority and no valid non-animal alternatives are available.
3. That violence, intimidation and harassment of scientists and others involved in animal research is neither a legitimate means of protest, nor morally justified.
If you would like to sign the petition, you can do so here. There's some more coverage of the rally over at DrugMonkey, complete with video coverage from CNN.
For all you who showed up yesterday, thank you. You made a difference yesterday. No more fear.