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Ringach ceasing primate research due to threats
(x-posted to neuroscience, _scientists_)

Some of you are likely familiar with Dario Ringach, whose work with macaques has been a boon to our understanding of receptive fields in visual cortex. Unfortunately, it looks like he's been intimidated out of continuing with this research:

From here and here:

The constant calls, the people frightening his children, and the demonstrations in front of his home apparently became a little too much.

Dario Ringach, an associate neurobiology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, decided this month to give up his research on primates because of pressure put on him, his neighborhood, and his family by the UCLA Primate Freedom Project, which seeks to stop research that harms animals.

Anti-animal research groups are trumpeting Ringach’s move as a victory, while some researchers are worried that it could embolden such groups to use more extreme tactics. . . .

Colleagues suggested that Ringach, who did not return e-mails seeking comment, was spooked by an attack on a colleague. In June, the Animal Liberation Front took credit for trying to put a Molotov cocktail on the doorstep of Lynn Fairbanks, another UCLA researcher who does experimentation on animals. The explosive was accidentally placed on the doorstep of Fairbanks’s elderly neighbor’s house, and did not detonate.
64 Experiments | Propose your hypothesis
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demon_cock From: demon_cock Date: August 22nd, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Goddammit, I hate animal rights terrorists so much.
From: semiconsciously Date: August 23rd, 2006 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
TERROR! Terrorists! They're everywhere.
I'd call these folks communists though: ecocommunoterrorfascists.

Sorry. :)

"Terrorist" is just such a loaded term right now. They're not terrorists. They're assholes.
prezzey From: prezzey Date: August 22nd, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank G-d I'm doing research on human children.

(but, seriously, SHEESH and OMG and all that. This is shocking!)
doctorskuld From: doctorskuld Date: August 22nd, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
:( Fucking hippies.
From: semiconsciously Date: August 23rd, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

See the conversation above, in demon_cock's thread. They're not hippies, they're assholes who use threats and intimidation to scare people into doing what they want.
groovyrooster From: groovyrooster Date: August 22nd, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I worked in Dario's lab for a summer - and I totally know where he is coming from. I couldn't find any info about the lab members or location online before I went - because they were scared to list it. He has two young children, and I would not put it past these folks to put their lives/health in danger.

When I was there for the summer, one of the lab folks showed me a flyer the one of the activist groups was sending around. It had "vivisector profile" written in like a blood ink typeface and it had Dario's address listed and a picture of his house. Underneath it read "Go tell Dr. Ringach how you feel about him torturing innocent animals in his laboratory."


These folks are CRAZY - they are def the new form of terrorism within our own country.
xchristinax From: xchristinax Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm in some vegan communities and I was expecting this to be posted in one of them with lots of congratulatory comments. I'm REALLY glad to find that's not the case. They always cite "well, they don't harm living beings" in defense of the ALF but sentences like "The explosive was accidentally placed on the doorstep of Fairbanks’s elderly neighbor’s house, and did not detonate." are enough reason for me to be adamantly against them. Stupid, destructive people.
chrissyr01 From: chrissyr01 Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'm in some veggie communities, but they all seem very open-minded so i doubt they'd have any radicals.
confuseddave From: confuseddave Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fuck it, you want to make America a mediaeval backwater? Go the fuck ahead. Join up with the unintelligent design losers. I hope you all die of curable neurodegenerative diseases because the country you plunged into economic recession can't afford drugs with Singaporean patents.</incomprehensible rant>
From: semiconsciously Date: August 23rd, 2006 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel so dirty for posting this... but in a good way. Like the dirty I feel after a night with... nevermind.

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psychelle From: psychelle Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't get it. What do they think experimenters will be able to use to understand the brain if not animals? It's not like they can test receptive fields on plants or using computer programs. Stupid, they are just stupid.
kotovski From: kotovski Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
well, they sure are dumb -- they almost blew up the guy's neighbour by mistake.
prissi From: prissi Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
... wtf? Yes, we should protect the animals -- who cares about the humans? Kill them all!
prissi From: prissi Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh. and I didn't even see the 'frightening his children' part.

... WTF.

Yes. Totally. Let us potentially permanently scar the minds of children to save the animals.

I mean, I'm all for ethical treatment of animals -- that's why we have ethics boards and such and it's much harder to get permission to experiment with animals than with humans!!! but... um. No. You do not go around terrorizing children. You have your beliefs, good. Others have theirs too, please respect them.
chrissyr01 From: chrissyr01 Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's the same rationale those extremist groups have for bombing abortion clinics..
kotovski From: kotovski Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
heavy shit
nadabean From: nadabean Date: August 22nd, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
god, this makes me want to go club a panda bear to death with a baby seal.
From: semiconsciously Date: August 22nd, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for posting this. I was originally angry but, as you can read in my journal, I'm now very pleased. This story, in context of everything else going on in Science, has reminded me of why I became a scientist in the first place. Fuck this shallow, ignorant, misguided individuals. Dr. Ringach has given up. I feel sorry for him. But these groups are simply a response. These scientists out here are adding to the world's knowledge. These groups are only responding to that knowledge. That is why they will ultimately fail.
From: ocean_depths Date: August 22nd, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice :) Somehow great things tend to come from things that make people angry...

Yay for non-deliberate multi-levelling!
jmae From: jmae Date: August 22nd, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jesus fucking Christ. Well, I'm fucking furious.
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jaipur From: jaipur Date: August 23rd, 2006 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
oh man. That's a loss to all of neuroscience, medicine, and the scientific community at large...
64 Experiments | Propose your hypothesis
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