An animal rights group will be targeting UC Riverside today in a protest condemning the university’s lab tests on guinea pigs and other creatures.
“Thousands of animals are trapped at UCR right now,” an activist who goes by Mike XVX said. “These animals are used in incredibly invasive experiments. Many studies result in the deaths of these animals.”
UCR issued a statement, saying that it was dedicated to “safeguarding and improving the welfare of the laboratory animals involved in research on the campus.”
“UCR’s policies ensure that research involving animals conforms to ethical, legal, and safety regulations and to the highest standards of animal care and treatment,” according to the university. “UCR has maintained accreditation with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care from February 1985 to the present day.”
AAALAC is a private group that supports the humane treatment of animals used in research.
UCR is on a list of places where backers of the “Open the Cages Tour” plan to rally. The tour is sponsored by Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, a nonprofit founded in 1996 with the goal of spotlighting the abuse of animals in scientific experiments.
Starting about 11 a.m. at University and Iowa avenues, about 30 activists are expected to demonstrate against animal research at UCR.
“Our goal is to educate the public about where taxpayer money is going,” Mike XVX said. “We also want to bring the ethical dilemma of testing for human research to the forefront and create a dialogue in the scientific community and encourage researchers to come forward and talk about their experiences.”
The argument that testing on animals benefits humans is misleading, he said, adding that some products still cause “health problems for the general population.”
UCR countered that, for decades, scientists have used “animal models in their research to alleviate human suffering and discover the causes, diagnoses and treatment of disease.”
“Some examples of benefits include improvements in human nutrition and health, food production, food safety, and treatments of a number of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, malaria vector control, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” according to UCR.