Monday 6-7pm on odd weeks (wk 1, 3, 5, etc)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2012
A new year, a new beginning 🙂
Welcome new members!!!
I am very happy to have you interested in our club. BFA is a fun, passionate, group of people who are excited for a whole new year. We welcome all people who love animals. You absolutely do not need to be vegan, anti-vivisection, etc. Every year, the club changes to fit the interests of our members. So don’t be shy, give us a try! Come on out to our meetings 🙂
Our general meetings are e every other week on the odd weeks (wks, 1, 3, 5, etc). We meet Mondays 6-7 in Hains A78. On even weeks we have other BFA activities including events, group dinners, volunteering, etc.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so you can be added to the email list and get further announcements and updates! Join our Facebook group too:
I hope to see all of you at our meetings. I am so excited for this year!
TUESDAY, JULY 3rd, 2012
Meatless Monday Campaign succeeding!
BFA has been meeting and working with the dining hall staff every 1-2 quarters to provide vegetarian and vegan friendly food on the hill. This is all part of our veg food campaign. Our most recent endeavor within our veg food campaign is our Meatless Monday campaign. With hard work and receptive dining hall staff, BFA has convinced UCLA dining halls to partake in Meatless Mondays. Yay! The dining halls will not be entirely meatless on mondays, but will contain less meat, and vamped up vegetarian and vegan meals which are highlighted. There will be more negotiation, recipe developing, and staff training before Meatless Mondays begin. However, this is a great step in our victory!
p.s. This article about our veg friendly campus is just awesome! 🙂 http://magazine.ucla.edu/features/the-vegan-campus/
MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2012
Hello BFA fans 🙂
With the funding we got from UCLA, BFA has made a beautiful signboard you can check out now on Bruin walk. We will also be getting new T-shirts soon with same style as our old ones. Tomorrow there will be an event to screen the documentary Bad Medicine. We are planning many fun events and fieldtrips for the remainder of the year. Being a part of BFA is awesome!
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER, 2011
A Great Success!
Last night BFA put on a very successful event. We had actress, author, mother, and ecoTools designer Alicia Silverstone give a talk at UCLA. The topic? Life, food, and kindness. With hundreds of students listening and a free Native Foods dinner, people left full, happy, and with a new leas on life. She is an inspirational woman and a great speaker. People are talking all about the event!
Her makeup brushes are VERY soft, and pretty cheap. I would highly recommend them:
I would like to give a huge thank you to my lovely, hard working co-president Laurel Brewer who made this whole event possible.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th, 2011
2011-2012, Pt. 1
With the new school year comes a new chapter in the life of BFA! A warm and fuzzy welcome to all new members!
Please feel MORE than welcome to participate in BFA in whatever way you’d like. Whether it’s signing up for our mailing list (doable via right side of these words here), attending meetings (as the Meeting Info says, they’ll be Thursdays 6-7pm in Boelter Hall 5420 this Fall quarter), offering a helping hand for events, and/or voicing whatever constructive thoughts your brilliant UCLA mind has weaved together 😉
Hope your presence will grace us at the next meeting, and congrats on making it to the new [school] year, whether freshman or continuing 🙂
– BFA Team
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27th, 2011
Full Version of April 15th Response by BFA’s Emmanuel Masongsong to
Daily Bruin’s “Billboard message forces viewers to rethink stance”
Hello Ms. Moradi,
Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Emmanuel Masongsong and I am an alumnus and current researcher here at UCLA. Thank you for further illuminating the animal rights (AR) vs. testing issue in the Daily Bruin, though I am frustrated that after so many years the sensationalism is still just as pervasive on both sides, and the fundamental issues have never gotten proper treatment. I know it’s difficult to find a place to get started in discussing this topic, but my experience as a student, scientist and cancer researcher at UCLA over the past 12 years revealed to me the the crux of the problem: there is a systemic lack of education about animal research and ethics, both for the public, and especially for student scientists. Nearly all the local/national media coverage and UCLA press releases use soundbites to condemn violence and threats by AR fanatics, with very little discussion of the substantive facts. For example:
“I actually just talked to the editor-in-chief and news editors about getting more coverage about animal rights, because our coverage has mostly focused on the attacks on researchers instead of getting into the real substantive information of what kind of research is actually being done and what alternatives there are to animal research.” -Daily Bruin reporter Audrey Kuo, 4/22/09, personal communication.
More Than Just Skin Deep
Skipping over this problem of educational awareness and focusing on activists yelling “end animal research now” is a gross oversight, and unlikely to lead to any real changes. The same goes for coverage of competing “pro-tests,” tallying the number of chest-beating sign wavers on each side. The public, UCLA, and AR activists would benefit from more exposure to the following details: the ethical grounds against animal testing are very well established (e.g. Dr. Peter Singer, Dr. Robert Jones at CSU Chico, to name a few); direct research on human cells and tissues is growing more common and even preferred by scientists for greater reliability and far lower cost; there is mounting evidence that animal-based assumptions of human disease show major discrepancies that lead to potential harm; , there is considerable resistance (and funding of “foundations”) from multibillion dollar industries that provide the vast infrastructure and stand to profit hugely from continued animal research funding; and last, the astronomic cost of animal experiments (millions that need to be housed, fed, disposed, and inspected regularly), leads to extraordinarily high costs of drugs and treatments that arise from these findings, which most people cannot readily afford. Perhaps our society could take a step back and acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of people suffering from illnesses on planet Earth would benefit from the simplest, cheapest solutions: access to clean water and nutritious food. Not pharmaceuticals.
The Road Less Traveled
The most insidious and oft-neglected piece is that students are indoctrinated from the beginning that animal testing is necessary simply because it is a tradition, whether or not various fields of medicine and biology have proven they are often too costly, inefficient, or ineffective. It has been well-documented that many drugs and chemicals turn out to be harmful to people despite having no effect in animals, and vice versa. As a UCLA microbiology alum (2004) and cancer researcher at UCLA I have firsthand experience of the institutional bias and lack of exposure to animal research alternatives in my education. The reality is that it’s nearly impossible to switch from the “animal experimentation funding model” once you have already begun pursuing a research career, let alone being a currently funded researcher. I believe that here is the disconnect, that AR protesters are expecting scientists to switch on ethical issues alone, yet the infrastructure, education, and institutional support has not been put in place to make it a practical decision as well. Thus, medical and biological students cannot even form their own conclusions about the usefulness or appropriate application of animal models because they only hear the much-distilled historical benefits. They never hear of the many failures, injuries and deaths from early animal experiments gone awry, and that animal research commonly distracts scientists from more accurate human-oriented research solutions to health problems.
The Road to a Productive Dialogue
Now- you can go back and read my interviews with the Daily Bruin as a member of Bruins for Animals (BFA), but I can summarize briefly. Full disclosure, I am a vegan of 10 years and fully support animal welfare AND cruelty-free medical research, and I absolutely condemn any violent or disruptive act perpetrated by “activists,” now or in the future. I and Kristy Anderson (founder of BFA), and Dr. Taimie Bryant (UCLA Animal Law professor) coordinated the first UCLA Workshop on Animal Research Alternatives in 2008, after meeting extensively with Vice Chancellor Roberto Peccei. UCLA Animal Alternatives Workshop link (Cached, UCLA took it down):
Peccei was surprisingly supportive of our efforts to increase education and transparency in animal research at UCLA, and he secured funding for the conference. It was a two-day event co-sponsored by the UCLA Animal Research Committee (ARC), and represented both sides with lectures and posters from dozens of professors, researchers, grad students, and industry professionals from across the country. This conference was meant to showcase that there is already a framework for reducing animals in research nationally and internationally, espoused by the biotech industry as well as UC Davis and Johns Hopkins, two eminent medical universities. Here are two of the best sources for animal alternatives, including one-on-one guidance from other researchers. This proves that major medical research universities (and the UC!) support animal alternatives education. UCLA needs to step it up.
For an “alternative” example, here is the link to Dr. Albert Li’s conference presentation on the Organs on a Chip system, proving that there are scientific AND cost benefits over standard animal testing.
Some key points:
Failure to Predict Human Drug Toxicity Using Animals
• 25% of drug candidates failed in clinical trials due to human toxicity (that’s millions of dollars spent on R&D for years, only to fail in early human tests)
• Post-marketing withdrawal or limited use of drugs due to adverse drug effects
• An animal species which does not metabolize apparent drug to form metabolites found in humans may under or over estimate drug toxicity in humans:
– Underestimation of toxicity if the major toxic metabolites are human-specific
– Overestimation of toxicity if the major toxic metabolites are animal-specific
Examples of established Human Cell Systems that could replace animal models:
• Endothelial cells
• Kidney tubule cells
• Airway epithelial cells
• Bone marrow cells/lymphocytes
• Various cell lines (e.g. Caco-2; MCF-7)
All are already commercial available, however these do not accurately model body-system interactions. The new Organ-Chip system has produced reliable results in modeling human drug/metabolite interactions with many cell types, simultaneously, which more accurately represents true human multi-system interactions.
Too Little Too Late
Sadly, these kinds of resources are not divulged to budding scientists until it is too late and they have already committed to animal research and received funding for projects. This information needs to be provided to undergrads and medical students early enough to influence their career decisions and interests before they are entrenched in the animal-biased research system.
As for the Animal Alternatives Workshop, we were absolutely thrilled at the opportunity for UCLA to take this massive, proactive first step, in effect the “third path” beyond violence and defensive finger pointing (including overly aggressive animal terrorist legislation). Unfortunately, we were expressly prohibited from publicizing the workshop openly to the public, students and scientists (the very groups we were hoping to target) due to fear of disruption by protesters (there was only one failed attempt). No coverage by Daily Bruin or other media either, though the ARC claimed press releases were sent to all the major outlets. The extra sad part is, after all the agreements and money spent by the Vice Chancellor on the conference, the educational policies regarding dissection and exposure to animal alternatives principles were never implemented. He assured us 3 years ago that a UC committee ruled that students could opt-out of animal dissection on moral grounds, and that a formal announcement would be made soon (as of 2008)…none yet that I know of. Students till now have contacted BFA stating their professors wouldn’t let them opt out of testing on animals in class.
Tripping on Our Own Feet
In essence, my whole point and that of BFA is that coverage of this issue MUST go beyond “end all animal research now” or not. Humanity definitely would not be where it is now without past animal research findings (we must acknowledge this, in the sense that the information itself is not evil, it is the unethical process of obtaining it), however there are technologies waiting to be developed that are not viable or accessible because of the bias of the science community around using animals, particularly mice and primates. That is the largest obstacle beyond education, that animal research has and continues to be posed as THE answer to human health quandaries. I can give you specific examples where rational scientist peer reviewers at NIH have turned down valid, comprehensive research studies simply because the researchers did not use rats. That seems utterly foolish, biased, and counter to scientific principles of objective inquiry, wouldn’t you agree?
So in the sense that animals were “necessary” in the past without molecular biological tools or understanding of systems biology and genetics, I don’t think they are at all necessary now. Animals are simply convenient to continue using because of the established infrastructure and billions in the support industries and animal research lobbyist groups, and those who are indoctrinated to promote the animal research agenda at funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. Why do all these critical viewpoints continue to be completely ignored in science education and in the current debate about animal research???? I hope you agree, that the discussion need not only continue but expand upon the core of the issue, the lack of education and exposure to animal research alternatives.
Feel free to call or email me if you want to talk more as I’m on campus every day, or if any other reporters are willing to dig deeper than the surface on this story. I fear as the debate revolves around the false choice of “people vs. animals” that more animals will suffer needlessly, more human lives will be put at risk, and more resources will be squandered on supposed “miracle cures.”
PS. My research lab on campus in fact began doing animal research recently, creating cancers in mice, and thankfully I was able to escape and have just accepted a position elsewhere on campus, in Earth and Space Sciences studying plasma physics… I just heard too that NASA will no longer be sending monkeys into space for radiation experiments, so I think I’m safe… for now.
PPS. This is an excellent op-ed in the Daily Bruin about the legal tongue-twisting needed to justify cruel techniques in animal research, written by Dr. Bryant and members of the Animal Law Society at UCLA.
“Animal researchers like to further argue that they are in complete compliance with state anticruelty statutes and federal laws that regulate scientific research on animals. However, as legally interpreted, neither state nor federal laws provide any protection to animals tortured at institutions like UCLA.
State anticruelty statutes define “cruel” as only the infliction of “unnecessary” suffering on animals. Scientific research is arbitrarily defined as “necessary,” which means that the infliction of even the most horrific suffering on animals falls outside the legal boundaries of the “anticruelty” statutes.
Federal law is no different. The Animal Welfare Act purports to regulate scientific research, yet the AWA covers only a very small minority of the animals used in research and explicitly states that none of its provisions can be used to impede or affect research design or implementation. The AWA does not prevent the infliction of horrific suffering on animals; it only creates paperwork for research scientists who need to provide minimal justifications for their unwillingness to provide pain relief or consider alternatives to animal-based research or testing.”
SUNDAY, APRIL 17th, 2011
Recap on UCLA’s recent event Careers with Animals! by Hannah Bishop-Moser, BFA Officer
Monday, April 11th, I walk into the Career Center looking to learn a little bit about what it’s like to work with animals at the Careers With Animals event. I walked out having learned more than I could have ever imagined. The event consisted of a wide variety of panelists talking about what they do, why they love it, and wise words of advice for all the bright, eager students in the room. At the end of the talk, two of the panelists showed their furry and scaly co-workers. After that, we were free to speak to the panelists one-on-one. I spoke to Katy Delaney, who is in the exact field I would like to be in. I hope to intern with her when I graduate from UCLA. Other students identified with other panelists, and made connections with them.
Each person had a wildly different career, so different perspectives. However, they all agree on a few key concepts, including that working with animals is not just working with animals; it’s working with people too. As with all jobs, working with people is a necessity and comes with its own challenges. They also all said that there is no typical day for them. Each day is new and exciting. They agreed that they don’t get a high salary. But they didn’t choose to work with animals to rake in the big bucks; they did it because working with animals is their passion. Every day they wake up to a job they love to do. It was inspiring to hear that. I know that one day, I will be working with animals, and loving what I do too.
A special thanks to Karol DeGraffenreid Johansen and Sharon Kamiya for inviting Bruins For Animals to this impressive event!
MONDAY, APRIL 11th, 2011
Before some of us knew what hit us, Week 3 of Spring 2011 has already arrived! Hope you’ve at least managed to finish purchasing your books by now…
Wanted to throw out a reminder right now that if you haven’t joined our Facebook group, please do! You can reach it by clicking on the Facebook button on our sidebar (a bit of a scroll down). This is one of the best ways to keep updated on all of BFA’s doings.
One of them was our first Spring meeting, which took place last week on Thursday night. As a recap, we went over a few upcoming events related to animal welfare such as Animal Law in Practice at Dodd this Saturday, April 16th at noon, lasting until about 1:30. Delicious vegan-friendly food will be offered! So see if you can make it out, for anyone who may be remotely interested or curious about the profession or workings as it pertains to animals and how we can make sure we advocate on their behalf legally.
Also – an event that is happening tonight is Careers with Animals! put on by UCLA at the Career Center, 3rd Floor Conference Room – at 7pm. A wide variety of related careers will be discussed.
Something that is not tonight but also this month is World Week for Lab Animals! – a special event will be dedicated to the week that will feature some well-known animal advocates, and this is going to be taking place on Monday, April 25th at 11am, until about 2pm. This is guaranteed to be an informative event like no other!
You might also hear us talk some more at future meetings about the California Wildlife Center which is holding a fundraiser on Sunday, May 15th that will consist of a walk on the beach. So stay tuned for that as well!
We have even more to discuss this Thursday, so in case that’s not enough for you, as always we more than welcome you to join us! Math Sciences 5203 at 6pm. And if you can’t make that you can always try and catch BFA at the Careers event tonight or the Law event on Saturday! Hope to see you at one of ’em, have a great rest of Week 3!
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20th, 2011
Just a quick write-up…
Coming up on Week 8! And if you’re wondering how you’re possibly going to get all the stuff done that’s due by Week 10, you’re not alone 😉
So… the Bold Native screening went marvelously. A late thanks to all those who showed up or at least made the effort to but somehow got sidetracked! You know who you are 🙂 It was great seeing everyone’s faces there and meeting some new interesting people. The Grand Salon setting was also beautiful, was thrilled to get that room for the screening. We were also thrilled to have in attendance, along with the filmmakers Casey and Denis, Joaquin Pastor, star of the film. Not to mention some amazing activists 🙂 The Q&A was a treat as well, insightful discussion on the different viewpoints within the animal rights community, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (a couple links on it here and here), and some other enlightening info for the crowd. I know I’ve said it before but excellent job on the movie guys! You definitely gained some more fans that night.
In other news, we had our Winter 2011 Dining Meeting with Residential Dining representatives last week, Wednesday the 16th. Again, it didn’t disappoint – we left feeling excited about all of the new options underway and thinking fondly of the concern the Dining team has regarding vegan-related issues. We aren’t to release info quite yet, but let’s just say we were shown two packet’s worth of lists of veg*n food, one of which is currently available in the dining halls and the other that is currently underway. It seems residential dining at UCLA is aptly meeting up to its title as Most Vegan-Friendly College!
And a big thanks to those of you who are still managing to make it to BFA meetings!! We know it’s nearing the end yet again and it can be tough sometimes. Great to see that the BFA family is alive and well still, complete with some amazing new members!
If you think I’m forgetting something (very possible) or there’s something else we should mention on the website that’s just too interesting and relevant to not include in our next update, feel more than free to ask to get it up here by emailing us!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6th, 2011
Feels like just yesterday that I last posted on here. And to think, it’s been an entire week…
Anyway, happy new year! Oh and yes, significant updates…
First, in case you didn’t get my email saying something similar, thanks to everyone who swung by the Animal Liberation exhibit on Tuesday! Check out the pictures in this post or BFA’s photo section on Facebook for an idea of what went down, if you didn’t get a chance to make it.
We are in the midst of events right now, with Week 1 wrapping up. Besides the ALP display, we also had our first Winter 2011 meeting this evening, which went marvelously. A big welcome to all of the new faces! We’re ecstatic to have you. AND proud to say we had enough attendees tonight to warrant actually trying to make sure to accommodate everyone – awesome. Was great meeting everybody! Hope to get to know all of you better, and hear any suggestions/hopefully have you as active members of the club 🙂
Up next: Movie night!!! See if you can join us next week at the screening of the fiction feature film Bold Native. An exciting chance to see what a small team of filmmakers can be capable of doing! The creators of this film will be present for a Q&A session following the screening. Click on the above event link for more info! Please note that we’ll be having the screening in lieu of a weekly meeting – that’s right, no weekly meeting next week, as next Thursday night has been deemed BFA Movie Night instead!
See you all there, and have a great rest of Week 1!
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 31st, 2010
Things to Come…
Ah, the last day of 2010. Who could’ve seen it coming? We’re now approaching 2011 and with that starting Winter quarter at UCLA! Early Happy New Year everyone!
We have two exciting events in store for the earlier part of the quarter so far, so take a look at our calendar and make a note in your own! Or watch out for BeeFAhs passing out flyers around campus.
Also keep checking the website as we’ll soon be posting the new meeting location for Winter ’11.
Till then, stay safe to all you party animals! So you could keep on helping the other animals. (What better way to end 2010 with some embarrassing play on words?)
Oh, and to those who’ve noticed – apologies for the lack of activity this past quarter. Don’t worry, we’re starting ’11 with a bang – and don’t be afraid to join in!
Sunday, November 21st, 2010
WE WON WE WON!
UCLA won most veg friendly campus 2010 by PETA 2. BFA meets with the dining hall staff ever 1-2 quarters in order to make the dining halls as vegan friendly as possible. The gracious dining hall staff has been more than receptive of vegan and vegetarian needs. BFA also raised awareness about this competition and why people should vote for us. Winning this award is a great honor. I would like to thank the dining hall staff, BFA members, and everyone else that made this possible.
Go BFA! Go UCLA! Woooo!!!
SATURDAY, JULY 3rd, 2010
Summer Check-In and Spring Dining Meeting Recap
Happy July! Wanted to do a summer check-in as well as post a couple official news tid bits 🙂
First off, a note on the relatively shorter side: We are currently working on putting together a Q&A but this time it will be of some of our BFA officers, for those of you who might want to get some inside info on such club positions, the life of a student advocate, or the general inner workings of an animal welfare/advocacy club like Bruins for Animals! For whatever purpose it will serve, this BFA Q&A will soon be on our website, so keep your eyes peeled if you are interested.
And now, a summary of our Spring meeting which took place last month, June 1st, with UCLA Dining!
It was a lovely and positive experience as usual – couldn’t have imagined it going better. Simply put, it is touching to think about how many vegan options one has as a resident in UCLA on-campus housing. Especially when comparing to life as a vegan while living on the hill just a few years ago, it thrills BFA that today, someone in this position is able to take advantage of their meal plan now more than ever.
The meeting confirmed that several people in UCLA Dining management did adhere to a vegan diet in honor of Vegan Week, which was to occur during Earth Day, April 22nd, and thought up as a way to come to a better understanding of what a vegan might crave or feel is lacking in the residential dining facilities.
This commitment to Vegan Week was something UCLA Dining management came up with all on their own, and it is an understatement to say that BFA was impressed by such initiative taken in regards to management’s concern with vegan options. We were also ecstatic when we heard that at least one dining representative is now eating more vegetarian due to Vegan Week!
Upon first entering the meeting, what better greeting to receive than to be offered vegan pastries? This is what went down when BFA first arrived, faced with those classic pink boxes full of vegan muffins and cookies that have all been recently introduced into the residential cafés. My favorite by far is the Vegan Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies, which disappear like hotcakes from Bruin Café as non-vegans and vegans alike request them so often that it was rare up to the end of Spring quarter that I got to order them after nightfall (it was maybe once that I checked and they actually still had one or two left by 8pm or so).
After discussing Vegan Week, we were asked what our opinions were as far as prioritizing what vegan items we’d like to see next, given a list of mouthwatering things like vegan pancakes, tofu scramble, yogurt, and even… vegan soft serve ice cream. Yes, you read that correctly.
Executive pastry chef Ray Works, one of those who joined us at the meeting, clearly demonstrated the massive effort being put forth in coming up with a vegan tiramisu recipe that will knock everyone’s socks off and will hold for sufficient time as a pastry in order to be added to the current dessert inventory. So for those who have been waiting, a vegan tiramisu becoming available on the hill is definitely not something that has been forgotten.
Here’s a quick highlight of many of the vegan options that have been introduced in dining in the past few months (note the pastries in particular!):
At De Neve Late Night:
- Vegan chicken fingers with vegan BBQ sauce (Mmm… see a Daily Bruin write-up discussing this addition here)
At Café 1919:
- Veggie pizza (Tre Pomodori), panini (Campania) and salad (Tagliata) with Daiya vegan cheese available on/in both (PDF menu here)
- Vegan Sorbet
- Vegan Quesadillas available with Daiya vegan cheese (spinach & mushroom available on rotating basis)
At Covel dining:
- Daiya cheese available for custom-made pizzas
At Bruin Café:
- Vegan V-B-Q sandwich (like the vegan chicken fingers, these were inspired by the SoCal vegan eatery Veggie Grill, a favorite of UCLA’s own Food & Beverage Director Daryl Ansel)
- Vegan Cappuccino Cookies (Café 1919)
- Multi-seed and Raisin muffins (Café 1919)
- Vegan Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies (Bruin Café)
- Vegan Morning Glory Muffins (Bruin Café)
This was just a short review of some progress that has been made with the food here to give those who are interested a glimpse of the delicious change that continues to happen in a more and more vegan-friendly direction. Again, kudos to all those on the UCLA Dining Team for all your efforts in this area.
Don’t forget to try as many of these savory offerings as you can whenever you can, UCLA residents!
MONDAY, MAY 17th, 2010
Celebrity Panel Discussion: Improving Your Health & Nutrition
Join us in a special free BFA event at Moore Hall this Thursday where you get to listen in on an enlightening discussion of the topic many of us may have questions, opinions, or even misconceptions about — making the most out of a plant-based diet, and just improving your health in general.
Celebrity panelists include:
Debra Skelton (Comedian and Star of Mad T.V.)
Robert Cheeke (Professional Bodybuilder)
Larry Sullivan (Actor in CSI)
Rachel Avalon (Winner of Project Green Search)
Chef Tigre (Chef to the stars)
Moderated by Vanessa Meier
Don’t miss this fun and educational evening!
Scroll down to see the flyer for this event on the right side of the page!
MONDAY, MAY 14th, 2010
UCLA dining halls go cage free!
Thanks to dedicated BFA member, Hannah Bishop-Moser, and her HSUS partner in crime, Josh Balk, all UCLA dining halls will now be using cage free eggs. The dining halls were very willing to pick up this more humane and sustainable product. 1.5 million eggs are used per year in the dining hall. So many animals are leading more humane lives thanks to the endeavors of Hannah, Josh, the dining hall staff, and all bruins who signed the cage free egg petition.
The image here was made into a poster which stands at the door of the dining halls: http://www.sustain.ucla.edu/news/article.asp?parentid=7421
The staff are just so silly!: http://www.environment.ucla.edu/media/images/chickens-large.jpg
Hannah Bishop-Moser wins the 2010 HSUS Student Leadership Award!!! Hannah could not be more honored to have this award.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21st, 2010
Q&A with Dr. Robert C. Jones!
Why are you against the use of animals in medical research?
I oppose the use of animals in medical research for a number of reasons, the two most prominent being theoretical and practical.
I oppose the use of animals in medical research for theoretical reasons because I do not think that all human interests trump all animal interests. Some animal interests trump some human interests and some human interests trump some animal interests. But these facts hold true in virtue of the benefits to aggregates of individual beings; they have no moral weight at the species level. That is, most of those who advocate the use of animals in medical research do so because they believe humans are “superior” to animals. In what ways are all humans superior to all animals? I do not believe that question can be answered adequately. I believe that if biomedical research is, in fact, necessary for the betterment of human beings, then decisions about who are the subjects of such experiments should not be racist, sexist, or speciesist. If someone must be sacrificed for the greater good of others, it is not at all clear why the line of ineligible candidates should be drawn around human beings.
I oppose the use of animals in medical research for practical reasons because a vast majority of medical research on animals evidences no clear direct link between the use of animals and human benefit. It’s an empirical question that is by no means as easily answered as many advocates of animal research contend.
How did you come to realize this?
Through lots and lots of reading, writing, discussing, arguing, and contemplation. And seeing graphic images of animals enduring harm in labs. In other words, the focus of my professional philosophical life and research centers around questions of animal ethics.
Are you suggesting that animals have the same rights as humans do? With rights come responsibilities.
I do not advocate “rights”, per se. The term ‘rights’ has a number of senses. When used in the phrase ‘animal rights’ it refers to a certain kind of view, belief, set of practices, etc, with regard to human-animal relations. This is its use in the popular vernacular. For example, people refer to Peter Singer as the “father of the animal rights movement”, yet they often do not realize that Singer does not believe that there exist “rights”, neither for humans nor animals. When used in academic circles, ‘rights’ means something very specific. It usually refers to some kind of absolute, inviolate protection. Like Singer, I do not believe anyone has such rights, animal or human.
However, I do believe that sentient beings have interests and that some humans have interests that some animals lack and that some animals have interests that some humans lack.
But even if I was an advocate of “rights”, though it is true that rights seem to imply responsibilities, it is not always the case. It is a perfectly coherent view to hold that human babies have certain inalienable rights, but absolutely no responsibilities. This is the difference between what is referred to in the literature as the difference between moral agents and moral patients. Moral agents have rights and can be held morally praiseworthy and blameworthy. Moral patients have rights but are not held to be morally praiseworthy or blameworthy. It does not follow that if human babies have rights that they share the same responsibilities as adult human moral agents. Likewise, it does not follow that if animals have rights that they share the same responsibilities as adult human moral agents.
Some may argue we need to use animals in medical research in order to help humans. What is your response to that?
If medical research experiments upon subjects are, in fact, necessary for the survival or betterment or significant increased utility of certain beings, then the decisions about who are to be the subjects of these experiments should not be based on morally irrelevant properties. And I believe that there are good, sound arguments demonstrating that race, sex, or species membership—on their own—are not morally relevant properties. If we really ”need” to use animals in medical research, we need to decide whether these subjects will be human animals or nonhuman animals based on other criteria besides species membership. By the mere fact that animals are sentient, that is, they possess the capacity to suffer physically, emotionally, and psychologically, it follows that they have interests in ethically significant ways that cannot be easily pushed aside or shrouded by some appeal to species membership. The days of unfettered anthropocentric domination by human interests over all animal interests is thankfully coming to a close, maybe not in my lifetime, but I believe within the next century. Or two.
Some scientists argue they use “compassion” towards animals in medical experiments. If welfare standards are adhered to then why is vivisection still considered to be a moral wrong?
Animals are sentient and cannot give consent. In the same way that it is wrong (if you believe it is) for severely cognitively disabled humans to be used in medical experiments whether or not the scientists are compassionate, so is it wrong to use animals. Both animals and the severely cognitively disabled are sentient and lack the ability to give consent, two quite noncontroversial yet significant morally relevant properties that are violated in both cases.
Some people think if you are for animal rights that you are against human rights. Can you explain why this is wrong?
Well, some people believe that if you advocate for gay marriage that you are damaging the institution of hetero marriage. It does not follow that one’s interest in expanding the rights of one group entails or implies a degradation of another group. I’m sure there were people who believed that advocating the ending of institutionalized slavery in this country meant that you were against the rights and interests of whites. It just does not follow. Are there humans who might lose certain benefits in a world in which animal rights are respected? Yes, probably. Were there whites who lost certain benefits once institutionalized slavery was abolished in this country? Yes, probably. Does that mean that slavery abolitionists or animal rights advocates are “against human rights”? I don’t think so.
Give us your thoughts on the “Panel Discussion” you so kindly participated in earlier this year at UCLA?
The February UCLA Panel on the Science and Ethics of Animal Research was an important event because it allowed people who were there (and those who viewed it later on the internet) the chance to see representatives of the animal research status quo publicly challenged. They were confronted with empirical facts and data as well as ethical and arguments that demanded response. I do not think their responses were adequate. Their arguments were, for the most part, not too deeply well thought out. I would love to see further discussions and debates with members of Pro-Test on this topic and would gladly participate myself, particularly if I had the opportunity to publicly dialogue with UCLA’s Prof. David Jenstch were he willing.
What would you like to see happen? How can we move forward and make PROgress to better the situation for both animals and humans?
As I said in the panel discussion, I see at least three actions that are minimally necessary. One is to require the mandatory education of all potential researchers on the issues of animal ethics. Two, the US Animal Welfare Act needs to be amended to include rodents and birds, two species currently (and horrifyingly) left outside of the meager protections that exist today. And three, make more transparent the inner workings and conditions inside CAFOs, labs, and the like. If these industries have nothing to hide, then why do they? Even if animals are not being harmed, the veil of secrecy that cloaks these industries acts only to further raise suspicions. Opening labs, slaughterhouses, circuses, and fur production facilities to the public would go a long way toward making progress for animals and humans.
Ultimately, I would like to see animals’ interests respected and our practices involving them reflect that respect. How that will play out, I cannot say, but I truly believe that it will happen. The animal rights movement is barely 35 years old. Like many human rights movements in history, the animal rights movement is like a train that will not stop. You either get on or get out of the way.
How could someone better educate themselves on this issue?
Read Lori Gruen’s entry on the Moral Status of Animals at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Go to Wikipedia and type in ‘Animal Rights’ and read not only the entry, but some of the references used for that entry. But perhaps the most powerful and perhaps effective way to educate is through the heart, through sentiment, through the model of compassion. Learning things like how your food is produced and how medical research is conducted by seeing for yourself, first-hand (or through film and video) is often the most devastatingly profound way to educate people about the abuses and horrors of nonhuman animals’ lives.
TUESDAY, APRIL 20th, 2010
Q&A with Dr. Ray Greek!
Why are you against the use of animals in medical research?
Society in general dislikes seeing animals used in research and testing. The phrase “a necessary evil” is often used to describe the process. The reason society tolerates the practice is, as the phrase suggests, they think it is necessary in order to find treatments for human diseases and make sure that medications are safe. Researchers who use animals sell the practice to society using that rationale. In point of fact, one species cannot predict the response of another; at least not when it comes to the response to drugs and disease. So the entire premise upon which society accepts using animals in medical research and drug testing is flawed.
How did you come to realize that animals are not helpful in curing human disease?
In 1989, my wife was in veterinary school and I was an attending physician in the Department of Anesthesiology in the University of Wisconsin at Madison. We would discuss our patients and found to our surprise that animals and humans reacted differently to medication and suffered from different diseases. Even when they suffered from the same diseases, they reacted differently in many cases. This led us to wonder if studying animals could inform researchers about human reactions to drugs and diseases. Over the course of the next ten years we studied this and eventually wrote books and articles explaining why animals cannot predict human response.
Approximately how many animals are subjected to exploitation in the name of science each year?
The exact number of animals used in research and testing each year is unknown. Estimates vary greatly in large part because there is no hard data. The number has increased dramatically in the last decade due mainly to the increase in the use of genetically modified mice. My best guess is that when all animals are counted, mice, fish, monkeys, rats and so forth, in government, industry and academia, the number will be around 500 million annually. This represents not just a large number of animals but an even larger consumption of money and other resources that should be going toward research that is likely to cure human diseases. A related issue is the distribution of grants between human-based research and animal-based. Based on the government figures, it appears that roughly 50% of taxpayer dollars (via the National Institutes of Health) go to animal-based research.
Where has animal use harmed humans?
There are essentially two ways. First, there are numerous examples where a drug helped or was safe in animals but humans reacted the opposite way. In 1993, half of the people participating in trial of fialuridine died. Zimeldine caused a paralyzing illness known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. An Alzheimer’s drug called AN-1792 worsened Alzheimer’s disease in test patients. The converse is also true. Drugs that failed animal trials but that probably would have benefitted humans were never developed. The National Cancer Institute, for example, believes society has lost cures for cancer because of results in animals. There are many such examples. Second, society has been harmed because animal models have taken money away from good scientific research modalities that would have resulted in treatments and other breakthroughs.
Give us your thoughts on the “Panel Discussion” you so kindly participated in earlier this year at UCLA?
The panel discussion was typical in that most everyone presented opinions but very few facts were offered and there was really no chance for challenging an opponent and pinning him down on nonsense. The idea, and the reason I participated in the panel, was that a debate on prediction, and possibly other topics, was supposed to follow. So far, this has not happened and Dr Ringach has essentially said that it will not. Reneging on this agreement is unprofessional on his part and will not improve otherwise strained relations between those advocating animal use in research and those opposing it.
What would you like to see happen? How can we move forward and make PROgress to better the situation for both animals and humans?
People who believe humans have the right to use animals in research are unlikely to be convinced they are wrong and vice versa. What can be agreed upon is the science behind such use. The facts are very clear. Using animals to predict human response to drugs and disease is not scientifically viable. On the other hand, animals can be used as bioreactors, heuristic devices, in dissection, and so forth. I see no progress being made until both sides agree to these facts. What this would mean is two things. 1. Researchers would need to stop selling to a scientifically naïve society the nonsense that animals are predictive. This would essentially mean the US Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency would need to rewrite their rules. Data from animals would no longer be required or accepted. 2. Animal advocates would need to acknowledge that there are scientifically viable uses of animals and stop saying, as some do, that all uses of animals fail the test of science. This would open the door for finding alternatives to the uses of animals that do work and abandoning the uses that do not. I do not see much progress being made by discussing the ethics and philosophy of using animals as the two sides have nothing in common and society has made it very clear that it will tolerate animal experimentation if it results in cures and safer medications.
Where can someone learn the facts about using animals in science?
This issue involves science and some people find science in general intimidating. That not with standing, you really do need to read some books about the science in order to fully appreciate why curing cancer in mice is not the same as curing it in humans. Niall Shanks and I have just written two books on the subject; one for scientists and one for people intimidated by science. Animal Models in Light of Evolution is for scientists and FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science is for the scientifically perplexed. Our website, www.AFMA-curedisease.org also contains excellent information.
Please note that BFA does not find it morally justifiable to dissect animals.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17th, 2010
Violence and Intimidation in Laboratories
The following statement can also be found as a link under our Anti-Vivisection Campaign links section on the right.
Following the recent and successful UCLA panel on animal-based research, there has been much online discussion about the virtues of the event. Supporters of Pro Test for Science (PTS) have applauded the publishing of a joint PTS/Bruins for Animals (BFA) statement against the “harassment” and “intimidation” by some AR activists of animal researchers at their homes and on websites. For example, one of the PTS panelists, CSUSJ philosopher Janet Stemwedel, exclaims in a headline on her blog, “There are animal rights supporters who take a public stand against violence and intimidation.”
Additionally, we see similar commentary in this article in Science magazine.
AR activists can rightly accept praise and credit for encouraging the two sides to come together in what was an unprecedented public and civil dialogue. However, one glaring and rather twisted irony too often overlooked is the fact that those very same participants who speak against aggressive campaigns against the animal experimentation industry and who are quick to praise AR advocates’ stance on nonviolence are themselves engaged in (or are supporters of) violence and intimidation towards sentient beings on a daily basis.
Vivisection, industrialized meat production, fur production, and other such practices involve extreme violence and intimidation against animals. So, when headlines such as Stemwedel’s congratulate AR activists for “taking a public stand against violence and intimidation,” what the headline fails to address is the fact that a vast majority of AR supporters are against violence and intimidation of any kind, including (and most importantly) violence against and intimidation of innocents, including animals.
Make no mistake about it, vivisection is a form of violence, violence perpetrated against innocent sentient beings. Animals exploited in medical research fear for their lives and are denied all that is important and natural to them. These animals are terrorized in every sense of the term. Despite the fact that most animals used in laboratories are sentient and have rich, complex, emotional lives, many experiments involve the infliction of physical and emotional pain and harm upon them. When the reality of the situation is brought to light in this way so is the hypocrisy of those animal researchers who, on the one hand, congratulate animal activists who are against violence and intimidation, while on the other, participate in the violence and intimidation involved in animal experimentation practices.
To assert this point in no way denies or diminishes the fact that the recent UCLA event was important, fruitful and an extremely positive and informative discussion on the science and ethics of animal based research. However, the praise by PTS supporters of ecumenical dialogue and the admonishing of certain tactics should not go unnoticed, as we do appreciate the willingness for dialogue. However, as already stated, we find it perplexing that one would congratulate us for a position which they themselves do not hold in a consistent manner. Further, such praise should not be allowed to weaken or undermine the solidarity of AR activists, nor should we lose sight of our shared, fundamental goal, namely, animal liberation.
BFA appreciates, welcomes and looks forward to continued civil and constructive dialogue with PTS on this issue.
Kristy Anderson, Co-Founder, Bruins for Animals!
Ashley Smith, President, Bruins for Animals!
Jill Ryther, Esq., Advisor, Bruins for Animals!
THURSDAY, MARCH 4th, 2010
Statements Within Animal Rights Community in Support of BFA’s Efforts for Ongoing Dialogue
Long title, but it just about sums up this update — check out our page, Anti-Vivisection Campaign (can also be accessed from the sidebar’s list of our website’s links), to see the newest addition to our website regarding the Perspectives event on the 16th and the pursuit of continuing dialogue between the animal welfare and animal research communities.
TUESDAY, MARCH 2nd, 2010
Official Winter Meeting with UCLA Dining Services!
Bruins for Animals cannot express how thrilled we are with the immensely obvious progress UCLA Dining is making toward cruelty-free fare. Recently, a couple of our members were invited by Food & Beverage Director, Daryl Ansel, to yet another treat (not long after our delightful experience with the Café 1919 tasting! [see below]) – this time at the Veggie Grill on Sunset Boulevard. The purpose of the Veggie Grill visit was to get our feedback on new vegan items they were planning on incorporating into the menus of Bruin Café and De Neve Late Night. After getting to sample basically everything we could have wished for at Veggie Grill, including vegan chicken fingers, Bruins for Animals affiliates and a few others (including other Dining representatives) voted on our favorite dishes. The highest-voted dish (aside from the vegan chicken that will soon be served at De Neve Late Night), a mouth-watering chipotle barbeque burger, served as a source of inspiration for the new item under consideration at Bruin Café. Needless to say, we cannot wait to see such delicious additions to the menus! About ninety percent of Veggie Grill’s patrons are notveg, and that is saying something about the appeal of their food (if you haven’t tried this place yet, you are seriously encouraged to do so). It is worth mentioning that the generosity on behalf of UCLA Dining also included our being treated to dessert – vegan carrot cake, which Veggie Grill is admirably known for.
Though admittedly I could go on in detail about the Veggie Grill trip, today’s focus is on the meeting that Bruins for Animals had with Dining Services this afternoon, March 2nd, 2010. We were honored to have the issues we are heavily concerned about be given the level of attention so evident in today’s meeting. The meeting was comprised of about thirteen people, with almost half representing UCLA Dining and the other half a mix of Bruins for Animals representatives, Outreach Director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Farming Campaign, and representatives of Hidden Villa Ranch, a cage free egg supplier.
We started the meeting with something that came as a pleasant surprise to BFA – a sampling of the actual vegan chicken fingers that are going to be introduced at De Neve Late Night! (See above.) If only I took pictures. These are, in my opinion, genius creations that are a fond reminder of the visit to Veggie Grill where Daryl had us try their similar item. Included in today’s sampling were vegan ranch and barbeque sauces. I could not have asked for more with the execution of this menu item, and I am sure that some of us who live further away will be willing to make frequent special trips over to De Neve just to try the vegan chicken fingers.
But it is also really something to be excited about when you know that you do not have to go all the way over to De Neve from the Sunset Village area (if you happen to live around here, like I do) to have a taste of vegan goodness, now with Café 1919 open, and talk of introducing… a vegan tiramisu! If you are blown away by this concept, so were we. Roger Pigozzi, Assistant Director Corporate Chef, never ceases to amaze Bruins for Animals with his wealth of knowledge on vegan foods and products, such as when he mentioned the tiramisu and experimenting with Ener-G egg replacer. The tiramisu is just one example of how proactive UCLA Dining is to increase vegan options throughout all dining on the Hill, and it means so much to so many residents here – not just Bruins for Animals members, and not just the a
|Bruins for Animals! (BFA) is a student-run organization at the University of California, Los Angeles. Accordingly, we are in strong solidarity with the international movement to end the exploitation of animals in the food, pets, clothing, research, and entertainment industries. We work by means of education, discussion, public demonstration, and other creative outlets which promote critical thought.Founded in 2004, BFA has developed from a small club into a large organization with a big heart, welcoming individuals dedicated to expanding humanity’s circle of compassion to include animals.Bruins for Animals! is the only group for UCLA undergraduates that promotes dialogue in animal issues. Thus, BFA greatly benefits the student body – including the many graduate students in our group – by providing a rich and welcoming environment to open dialogue and promoting critical thought. The group meets weekly; some examples of a typical meeting might entail organizing animal rights campaigns, arranging dates to volunteer with animals, or collaborating to plan events such as documentary screenings, fundraisers for outside organizations, lectures, protests, and debates.
But it isn’t all hard work and no play – we love bringing people together over cruelty-free food! BFA holds very successful vegan potlucks throughout the year which everyone is invited to, including you!
Please note that everyone is welcome to participate in BFA, despite differences in diets, lifestyle choices, and opinions towards the animal rights movement.