Animal research worth the cost

By By Alicia Williams and By Alicia Williams

By Alicia Williams

Animal rights activists protested outside the downtown Hilton on Nov. 19 wearing black, militant clothing and covering their faces. They said their anonymity was to show solidarity with research animals.

Although protesting is a right that should be protected, nobody has the right to bully people into relinquishing their support of legitimate animal research. The knowledge gained by animal research is the only hope for millions of people suffering from cancer, AIDS, spinal-cord injuries, blindness, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and infertility, just to name a few. Animal research is vital for developing knowledge and understanding of these and thousands more debilitating, disfiguring and sometimes fatal diseases.

Tom Parks, vice president of research at the U, said scientists have come to rely on animal models, and because non-violent animal rights activists have increased social awareness of the importance of minimizing the number of animals used in testing, animal tests have been greatly reduced and, in many cases, replaced entirely with non-animal tests.

At the same time, he believes researchers have also helped people concerned about animal welfare to be aware of the essential role animals play in modern biomedical research.

“We don’t have any effective ways of replacing animals completely in many different types of research,” Parks said. “All of the medical procedures, devices and drugs that we now have in modern medicine were developed with the use of animals as part of the research program and it is a federal law that new devices, procedures and drugs have to be tested on animals before they can be used in humans.”

There is no shame in believing and supporting the continued efforts of researchers across the world, and if you genuinely disagree with it, then change it.

On April 20, several animal activists chose to conduct a protest at a U researcher’s home, even though they knew a new Salt Lake City ordinance prohibited them from protesting within 100 feet of the residence. Police arrested three and cited 16 with a Class B misdemeanor, which can carry a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail.

Salt Lake City prosecutor Sim Gill said the ongoing case is set for another motion hearing Dec. 15. At that time, it will be determined if the issue will be resolved or moved to trial.

The greatest privileges of being an American are the rights to believe differently, to voice our opinions and to labor toward changing the minds of the public and enacting new laws. Differences of opinion do not justify hatred, anger and threats towards researchers or their families and homes.

No one has the right to use intimidation and terroristic tactics to drive researchers out of their lines of work. These threats are shameful and unnecessary. Change will only be accomplished by legal means and by creating a consensus within the majority of the population8212;the very same population that is hoping and praying for future advancements in medical science to save them or their loved ones.

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Alicia Williams