As the struggle between animal rights activists and scientists rages on, what’s really happening inside UCSF’s animal labs?
By Tali Woodward
ON JULY 14, while doctors and medical students in surgical scrubs scurried about, a motley band of 30 or so people marched back and forth outside a medical building on Parnassus Avenue, waving blown-up photos of lab animals and passing out flyers saying that monkeys in experiments run by the University of California San Francisco were going “insane.”
“How does it feel to kill those that trust you?” they chanted.
As a mother led her young son along the sidewalk, doing her best to dodge the protesters, the boy looked up in horror at a photo of a monkey with Frankensteinian screws protruding from its skull. Someone took the opportunity to offer the woman a pamphlet, and when she hustled her child away, the protester, perplexed, said to her fellow animal activists, “How sad: He’s seeing these upsetting images, and she doesn’t even want to learn more.”
Moments later, a man in a lab coat strode by. Before entering the building, he glanced over his shoulder to shout, “Die of cancer, then!”
It was another day, another demonstration at California’s premier public health-sciences facility. The animal rights groups show up every few months to march and hand out sensational flyers describing secret horror shows deep in hidden labs. And university officials do their best to not even engage them.
The struggle over animal research is polarized and emotional. It’s not uncommon for animal rights activists to characterize researchers as barbarians who cut up innocent animals out of joy or greed