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Planet Earth

Animal Testing Advocate Gets "AIDS-Tainted Razor Blades" in the Mail

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A neuroscientist who has spoken out in support of animal testing is in the news again after a militant animal rights group sent razor blades and a threatening note to his house. The group claims that the razor blades were contaminated with HIV-infected blood. The researcher, J. David Jentsch, who studies addiction and schizophrenia at UCLA, explains the incident:

"About a week ago I was going through my mail in my kitchen and I opened a letter and razor blades spilled out on the floor. It was the first sign something was nefarious," he said. "The letter inside contained quite specific and heinous acts of violence to kill me." [CNN]

Jentsch made headlines last year when he staged a pro-test rally in support of (humane) animal research

after an animal rights group fire-bombed his car in his driveway. The threats and harassment of Jentsch and other department employees have continued, but Jentsch seems undaunted and undeterred.

"Responsible use of animals in research aimed at improving the health and welfare of the mentally ill is the right thing to do," Jentsch said in a statement. "We will continue to do so because we have a moral responsibility to society to use our skills for the betterment of the world." [LA Times]

The Animal Liberation Front released information from an activist group calling itself the "Justice Department at UCLA"; that group claims responsibility for the package, which they say was contaminated by HIV-infected blood. From the press release

(emphasis and bad grammar is all theirs):

The Justice Department at UCLA sent bloody AIDS tainted razor blades to David Jentsch at [xxxxx] Valley Vista boulevard in the town of Sherman Oaks, California; instead he should be living in hell which is where he will eventually end up desirably sooner rather than later. He has no business addicting primates to phencyclidine known on the streets as PCP and other street drugs using grant money from the federal government. Confining primates to puny filthy cages then removing them to give them their fix of PCP when primates would not get addicted if it weren't for Frankenstein's like Jentsch. How would Jentsch like the same thing he does to primates to be done to him? That would be justice. STOP YOUR SICK EXPERIMENTS OR HELL AWAITS YOU. --UCLA JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

The group also claims to have sent a similar package to Jentsch's graduate student, Stephanie Groman, though there is no evidence the package was received. While the Animal Liberation Front doesn't officially back violent acts such as these, the conclusion of the ALF press release

warns that such acts will continue:

Refusal to discontinue their futile and torturous animal research can be expected to yield additional consequences for vivisectors at the hands of activists who are willing to risk their own lives and freedom to help these enslaved and tormented animals.

Related content: 80beats: After 9 Years Retirement, Lab Chimps May Return to Medical Testing

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80beats: University, Fearing Animal-Rights Violence, Axes Baboon Study

80beats: After a Firebombing, “Pro-Test” Rallies in Support of Animal Research

DISCOVER: Steven Wise He Speaks for the Speechless

DISCOVER: Reviews: It's Hard Out There for a Biomedical Researcher

DISCOVER: Natural Selections: Animal Wars

Image: Flickr/HighTechDad

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