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Bruins for Animals sponsors PETA speaker event
By Daniel Schonhaut
Oct. 23, 2009 at 1:40 a.m.
'We know remarkable things about animals,
including their ability to feel physical and psychological pain,' said Alka
Chandna, laboratory oversight specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment
Chandna spoke to a gathering of about 40 people in Ackerman
Lobby on Wednesday, which was sponsored by the student group Bruins for
The speech lasted for about an hour, after which a question and
answer session was held.
Chandna said universities nationwide are
performing unethical experiments on tens of millions of laboratory animals
each year. She criticized federal regulations for failing to set appropriate
standards for research.
'In the U.S., virtually nothing is prohibited,'
she said. 'Animals live in cages where they have no choice. They live lives
of incredible deprivation.'
Chandna called out a number of UCLA animal
researchers for performing what she deemed to be unethical practices. She
encouraged students to demand increased transparency from the administration.
A small group of UCLA researchers attended the event at the invitation of
Bruins for Animals.
David Jentsch, an associate professor of psychology
and the founder of Pro-Test at UCLA, said he thought Chandna covered the
right issues with the wrong answers.
'(Chandna) chose subsets of
facts, partial stories and innuendo to arrive at an answer that I think is
not defensible,' Jentsch said.
He added that UCLA, along with most
universities, has received a high accreditation for animal research that
extends beyond what federal laws mandate.
Jentsch criticized Chandna's
decision to directly attack UCLA researchers.
'She presented information
about individual identities when she knows this is a place where researchers
have gotten bombed,' he said. 'Beyond that the content was misleading.'
Jentsch said that while he disagreed with much of what Chandna had to say,
he believes most animal rights supporters act with good intentions.
Melissa Freeland, the vice president of Bruins for Animals and a fourth-year
geography student, said she was glad to hear both sides of the animal rights
and research issue.
'I really enjoyed the speech. I thought it was
informative and engaging,' Freeland said.
She added that she wished
more people had come to the event and encouraged interested students to
attend a speech by Dr. Ray Greek on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Humanities
Greek, the president of Americans for Medical Advancement,
will discuss alternatives to animal research.
'We're trying to host
this middle ground between researchers and extremists and to start a dialogue
between the two sides,' Freeland said.
"The pain in addiction is when you lose your relationships, lose your
children, lose your job, when your health goes down. Animals don't suffer
those things," he said. "They suffer none of the psychosocial pain that is
what addiction is all about." David Jentsch, LA Times 4/13/09.
is a hypocrite. He conveniently simplifies the facts about psychosocial
relationships in vervets to justify his own purposes and ignore their
isolation and suffering. In a recent peer-reviewed article, researchers found
that vervet monkeys exhibit complex social behaviors (the same Jentsch
studies) and exchange grooming for food and other benefits much like humans
use currency, even going so far as adapting exchange rates based on demand.
This behavioral research was performed in the wild, no animals were held
captive, drugged, or killed.
"Nonproviders could have groomed the [food]
provider to improve their affiliative bond with her. Candidate
neurobiological mechanisms are those usually connected to trust, pair
bonding, and friendship, such as increased titers of oxytocin, vasopressin,
and endorphins, which notably follow friendly forms of touching. The
attitude toward a groupmember can be improved by any good or service received
from that individual, but grooming is the standard service every vervet has
handy. Grooming to gain trust is... based on multiple interactions in which
the more recent interactions tend to weigh more than those from a more
distant past... but the idea remains the same: the animals are assumed to be
driven by emotions reminiscent of those felt by humans toward friends."
watch this video on vervets and
social drinking behaviors:
p.m. Oct. 23, 2009