University of California, Los Angeles

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a major research university located in the city of Los Angeles, CA. It was founded in 1919 as a branch of the University of California system (which now holds 10 campuses, three national labs and one independently-run law school). UCLA has programs in the fields of scientific research, medicine, law, business and engineering. The campus currently holds 38,000 students and has over 300,000 alumni.

Animal testing

UCLA does animal testing.

Facility information, progress reports & USDA-APHIS reports

This facility performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered. For copies of this facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports & Information: University of California, Los Angeles, CA. [1]

USDA AWA reports

As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports

UCLA primate experiments

Interview with neighborhood protester on UCLA primate research. - March 21, 2009

Isolation is severely stressful to primates. In fact, 10% of isolated primates self mutilate. Many of the primates within the labs of UCLA have serious pathological conditions. Intestinal parasites are common. Serious bacterial infections result from many of the most invasive research protocols. The psychological well-being of the primates at UCLA is also a major issue, with some self mutilating due to extreme psychological stress.

Many primates at UCLA are used in brain-mapping experiments. For such "experiments", recording cylinders are attached to their skulls, eye coils are implanted and electrodes are forced into the brain. Primates are also confined to cruel restraint chairs and deprived of water for as long as 22 hours a day. Craniotomies are often performed on UCLA's primates. Such procedures involve cutting holes in the animals skull in order to insert electrodes into the brain. Other procedures cut openings in the membranes that protect the brain to insert electrodes. Restraint bars are attached to their skulls so that their heads are literally bolted in place during procedures. Primates are predominately involved in psychology, alcohol & addictive drugs, brain-mapping and reproductive studies. Repetition is rampant in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded studies. Currently, 175 NIH projects study "neural information processing" in macaque monkeys and waste over $70 million in federal tax dollars annually. Often, such projects continue for decades. [2]

2006 news conference at UCLA

Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) is a national research watchdog organization. In 2001 SAEN filed the largest official complaint in history with the USDA, uncovering laboratory abuses at dozens of well known universities and research facilities. [3] According to Executive Director, Micheal Budkie in a September 2006 news conference, animals are:

"so stressed they are mutilating their own bodies. ...This not about science. This is not about research. This is about bringing money to the university."

According to one experiment on a monkey:

"After induction of anesthesia the animal's head is mounted in a stereotaxic head holder, designed especially for visual experiments. A small craniotomy is made over the brain region of interest and electrodes are attached to the skull."

The monkey's pupils are dilated and fitted with contact lenses while the eye lids are retracted. The monkey is given anesthesia and a paralytic agent. At the conclusion of the experiment, the monkey is "given an overdose of sodium pentothal in accordance with American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) guidelines.

UCLA officials described their research as "lifesaving" and "heavily monitored."[4], [5]

Primate/other animal studies & incidents involving researchers

David Jentsch, PhD

Dr. Jentsch is a professor of Psychology, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. He was targeted in March of 2009. His Volvo was destroyed by a fire bomb very early in the morning while parked next to his house. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jentsch claims that UCLA Pro-Test, was started to support research that using animals “in what he calls a humane, carefully regulated way.” Dr. Jentsch administers methamphetamine to about two dozen monkeys and then withdraws them from it; about half a dozen are killed each year for postmortems. He contends that the animals suffer no pain from the work.

A grant from the NIH which lasted through 2010, was entitled Neurochemical Determinants of Ma-induced cognitive Deficits. He has published occasional papers describing his injections of nicotine, cocaine, THC and esoteric chemicals into rats and monkeys. Of his approximately 55 published papers, about a third describe phencyclidine (PCP), to induce schizophrenic duress in animals. In fact, he has injected PCP into monkeys and rats continuously since about 1997. In one 1997 paper, he cited research dating from 1962. [6] Dr. Jentsch injects 15 to 30 times the normal recreational dose of PCP into animals trapped in cages. Isolated and manhandled monkeys have nightmarish hallucinations for two weeks before they are killed. [7]

According to Dr. Jentsch, the point of this "research" is that clozapine (which has been is use sine the 1970's) is not well understood." [8], [9]

Dario Ringach, PhD

Dr. Ringach is a professor of Neurobiology and Psychology. According to an article in Science Journal, UCLA was "mostly silent" while Dr. R. suffered a "dénouement of the assault" and "harassment" for his work on "higher-order information processing in visual systems." [10]

Dr. Ringach is one of two vivisectors in the world to have even temporarily capitulated to activists. In his experiments, electrodes are implanted in the brains of monkeys and cats. Animals are then put in a metal frame and exposed to images while electrode output is recorded. "The moral question is whether he monkeys and cats should be killed to generate a mathematical approximations of the neuronal response to visual stimuli." [11]

Lynn Fairbanks, PhD

Dr. Fairbanks is a is a professor of psychiatry. Dr Fairbanks administers methamphetamine to adult male vervet monkeys creating addictions and then with draws the drug and observes various abnormal and anxious behaviors. The monkeys are then killed to examine their brains. [12] A co-author of Dr. Fairbanks, William Melega, has been injecting monkeys with methamphetamine since at least 1995. [13] Vivisectors have been injecting monkeys with methamphetamine since at least 1971, [14] and in other animals (mice, rats, dogs, cats and pigeons) since the early 1950s. [15], [16]

Tobacco funds animal & teen testing

A February 9, 2008 Los Angeles Times article revealed that UCLA researcher Edythe London accepted a $6 million dollar grant from Philip Morris to study the brains of heavily addicted teenage smokers and vervet monkeys.

"First, find dozens of hard-core teenage smokers as young as 14 and study their brains with high-tech scans. Second, feed vervet monkeys liquid nicotine and then kill at least six of them to examine their brains. Third, accept $6 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay for it all. Fourth, cloak the project in unusual secrecy."

The "team of UCLA researchers" are hoping to produce a "groundbreaking study of addiction" in the three year study. Lead scientist Edythe London asserts that she wants to "save lives". She is

"really proud of what we are doing. We have a track record for contributing to science, and we would like to bring that to bear on the problem of nicotine addiction."[17]

Criticism, protests & vandalism

However, "even before she had a chance to select her first teenager for study, Dr. London paid a price for her research." In October of 2007, animal activists flooded her home with her garden hose, causing over $20,000 in damages. In February of 2008, activists left an incendiary device during the night which charred her front door. They accused London "sadistic procedures" and "torturing nonhuman animals to death" in earlier studies. Philip Morris' role in the study has also drawn sharp criticism from anti-tobacco activists. They apparently harbor some doubts regarding PM's desire to help people stop smoking. They also question whether studying teen and primate brains would help PM design a more addictive cigarette. According to Matt Meyers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

"It's stunning in this day and age that a university would do secret research for the tobacco industry on the brains of children. It raises fundamental questions about the integrity, honesty and openness of research anywhere at the University of California."

London said that Philip Morris would not have any oversight or other involvement in the study. Maintains that PM really does want to help people quit smoking and buying cigarettes; she described the suggestion that PM might use her findings to make cigarettes more addictive as "twisted". [18]

Edith London's "secret" experiments & ALF

Ms. London was targeted by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in October of 2007 "for her role in torturing non-human animals to death in outdated and unnecessary experiments." In this incident, tens of thousands of dollars in damage was reported after her home was flooded by a garden hose. According to ALF, the motive was Ms. London's "sadistic routine of addicting non-human primates to methamphetamine." Ms. London has also published data on primate addiction to nicotine and the addicting of lambs to cocaine.

In a September of 2007 article in the San Francisco Gate, she was criticized for her "secret" cigarette smoking experiments at UCLA. Subsequent attempts to obtain more information by the newspaper were met with heavily redacted and "useless" documents from UCLA. Ms. London and the university both also refused to comment. However, Ms. London, a pharmacologist, has publicly admitted that her nicotine research on animals:

"demonstrated so much inter-species variation in drug receptors, that no definitive statement could be made with regards to human effects of the drug."

ALF press officer Jerry Vlasak called her research a "colossal waste of taxpayer money. ...Soliciting money from industry groups to study their retail products is considered unethical by most physicians interested in research that might help their patients." [19]

Tobacco studies

Given the favorable track record that tobacco has with animal testing results, such funding it is not too surprising. Animal testing was historically used by politicians to avoid taking action against tobacco companies. Decades of vague and inconclusive results enabled them to perpetuate confusion and prevent doctors from giving authoritative warnings. Researchers spent decades forcing beagles to smoke cigarettes and painting tar on the backs of mice (although there were already clear links between tobacco and human cancer). Physicians were encouraged to keep quiet while researchers spent years performing animal tests.[20], [21] See also smoking beagles.


Activist lawsuit against UCLA

In February of 2008, UCLA attorneys argued that five above ground picketers working with the UCLA Primate Freedom Project should be "restrained" from focused demonstrations 50 feet from private residences (already a local law in most jurisdictions). Two months prior, UCLA activists filed a lawsuit against UCLA. Attorney Christine Garcia charged UCLA with ten causes of action, including depriving activists of their constitutional rights to free speech. According to ALF Press Officer Jerry Vlasak, MD:

"UCLA accomplished absolutely nothing in court today; underground activists will probably never even know the restraining order exists, and all but five picketers can continue their protests against the atrocities being committed by primate vivisectors on the UCLA campus. Even the five activists named in the TRO have been given such limited restrictions that they will barely notice the difference.[22]

According to a federal lawsuit, legal picketing has been met with unlawful obstruction and interference by both the Santa Monica police department and UCLA's campus police. The captain of the UCLA campus police, John Adams; threatened and harassed activists. According an ALF press release, under ground organizations have historically stepped in after legal means have been squelched. [23]

UCLA lawsuit against activists

In February of 2008, UCLA went to court in an attempt to keep activists away from researchers who say that have been "threatened because of their research". Three times since June 2006, Molotov cocktail-type devices have been left near the homes of faculty members who oversee or participate in animal research, according to their statement. According to the university "researchers' homes have also been vandalized and they have received threatening phone calls and e-mails" and on at least one occasion, a faculty member received a package containing razor blades.

UCLA' Board of Regents filed suit in Superior Court in Santa Monica seeking a temporary restraining order and permanent injunctions. The board oversees the state's 10 University of California campuses. The suit specifically requested restraining orders and injunctions against the ALF, the Animal Liberation Brigade, the UCLA Primate Freedom Project and five protesters believed to be affiliated with those groups.

UCLA alleged that defendants "invaded researchers' privacy, interfered with business practices and intentionally caused emotional distress." It also requested that defendants be prohibited from vandalizing property, violating local noise ordinances or disseminating personal information about personnel over the internet. However, according to Jerry Vlasak, a spokesman for the ALF Press Office, any pickets named in the suit have a constitutional right to protest and underground protesters "would not be intimidated by the lawsuit":

"Here they are risking 30-year sentences for arson and they're going to be threatened by a restraining order? It doesn't make sense to me. I would be laughing out loud."

The school has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force in investigating the threats. A combined $170,000 reward has been offered for the arrest and conviction of those responsible. [24]

Vivisection "debate"

See also animal testing, section 6.

Public relations

Dr. David Jentsch sits on the board of Americans for Medical Progress (AMP). AMP's board consists of senior executives and other representatives employed by the pharmaceutical and vivisection industries. Board members represent multinational, billion dollar corporations as well as universities and institutions receiving government grants for vivisection. See also Americans for Medical Progress.

Dr. Jentzsch, Dr. Ringach and Dr. Fairbanks and several members of UCLA's animal research support staff, are also members of Speaking of Research, which is funded in part by AMP. See also Speaking of Research.


See also NIH & U.S. Government's War on Animals, section 5.


Web address:

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Facility Reports and Information: University of California, Los Angeles, CA, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, accessed January 2011
  2. Fact Sheets: Primate Experimentation in the U.S. - UCLA, SAEN, accessed November 2009
  3. Stop Animal Exploitation Now SAEN, Wiserearth, accessed November 2008
  4. Carla Hall, Rebecca Trounson UCLA Distorts Animal Testing, Activists Allege, Los Angeles Times, September 2006
  5. Fact Sheet: Primate Experimentation in the U.S.: UCLA, SAEN, accessed October 2009
  6. Jentsch JD, Elsworth JD, Redmond DE Jr, Roth RH, Phencyclidine increases forebrain monoamine metabolism in rats and monkeys: modulation by the isomers of HA966., Journal of Neuroscience, 1997
  7. John D Elsworth, J David Jentsch, Bret A Morrow, D Eugene Redmond Jr, Robert H Roth, Clozapine Normalizes Prefrontal Cortex Dopamine Transmission in Monkeys Subchronically Exposed to Phencyclidine Neuropsychopharmacology., 2008
  8. Larry Gordon UCLA professor stands up to violent animal rights activists, Los Angeles Times, April 2009
  9. R. Allen Bogle Pro-Test, Primate Freedom, September 2009
  10. Donald Kennedy Animal Activism: Out of Control, Science Journal, Vol. 313. no. 5793, p. 1541, September 2006
  11. R. Allen Bogle Pro-Test, Primate Freedom, September 2009
  12. Melega WP, Jorgensen MJ, Laćan G, Way BM, Pham J, Morton G, Cho AK, Fairbanks LA, Long-term methamphetamine administration in the vervet monkey models aspects of a human exposure: brain neurotoxicity and behavioral profiles., Neuropsychopharmacology, 2008
  13. Kuczenski R, Segal DS, Cho AK, Melega W., Hippocampus norepinephrine, caudate dopamine and serotonin, and behavioral responses to the stereoisomers of amphetamine and methamphetamine., Journal of Neuroscience, 1995
  14. Ellinwood EH Jr., Effect of chronic methamphetamine intoxication in Rhesus monkeys., Biological Psychiatry, 1971
  15. Harrisson JW, Ambrus CM, Ambrus JL, Tolerance of rats toward amphetamine and methamphetamine., Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (Baltimore), 1952
  16. R. Allen Bogle Pro-Test, Primate Freedom, September 2009
  17. Richard C. Paddock A smoldering controversy at UCLA, Los Angeles Times, February 09, 2008
  18. Richard C. Paddock A smoldering controversy at UCLA, Los Angeles Times, February 09, 2008
  19. UCLA Vivisector Gets Return Visit from ALF, Indymedia, UK, February 2008
  20. Wasted Tobacco Settlement Money, White Coat Welfare, accessed September 2009
  21. Anne Landman, Donald G. Cooley Smoke Without Fear (1954): The Mouse-skin Experiments, pg 13,, accessed December 2009
  22. UCLA Suing Extremists, Animal Liberation Front, February 22, 2008
  23. UCLA Vivisector Gets Return Visit from ALF, Indymedia, UK, February 2008
  24. UCLA Seeks Restraining Order Against 'Terrorist' Animal Rights Activists, Fox News February 21, 2008

External articles

External resources