Scientists, supporters rally at UCLA for animal research

Led by a professor whose car was set on fire last month in an anonymous attack, more than 400 UCLA scientists and their supporters rallied on campus Wednesday to defend research using animals and to protest the violent tactics of some opponents.

At almost the same time, about 40 critics of animal research demonstrated just across Westwood Boulevard from the pro-research gathering, and the two groups briefly traded slogans before marching to different UCLA plazas. Police reported no violence and no arrests.

With signs proclaiming, "Research Yes, Terror No," the larger rally was organized by UCLA neuroscientist J. David Jentsch. Police say Jentsch’s car was destroyed by animal rights extremists near his home March 7 because he uses and sometimes kills vervet monkeys in research on schizophrenia and drug addiction. That incident, in which no one was injured, was the latest in a string of arson attacks and threats against UCLA scientists since 2006.

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