HIV attack on neuroscientist raises eyebrows


David Jentsch, a UCLA neuroscientist who conducts controversial research on live primates and rodents, received a package earlier this month containing razor blades and a threatening message according to a report today in the LA Times. A post on the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) website points to "liberation activists identifying themselves as members of the Justice Department" as the party claiming to have sent Jentsch and a UCLA colleague HIV-tainted razor blades. (The LA Times initially reported that the ALF itself claimed responsibility).

Jentsch is the head of a pro-vivisection advocacy group. His past research, much of it funded by the NIH, includes tests on monkeys that animal rights activists find particularly reprehensible: one involved injecting vervets in "squeeze cages" twice a day with high doses of PCP, then killing them and examining their brains; other projects involved similar procedures with methamphetamine.

"How would Jentsch like the same thing he does to primates to be done to him?" the ALF's statement said.

In March 2009, Jentsch's vehicle burned outside of his Sherman Oaks residence in a "suspicious arson attack." The ALF claimed responsibility for that attack.

So, let's get to the comments. Best analogy comparing either the ALF or the neuroscientist to Hitler wins a pony. Go!

Below, vervet monkeys that are not on PCP. (CC-licensed image courtesy of Roo Reynolds, via Flickr.)



    1. Yessss…
      And soon, he will find a way for every creature on earth… TO OBTAIN PAINTED EYEBROWS LIKE HIS! His dark, sinister research is “just the kind of thing you would find in Hitler’s Germany” (Mitchell + Webb plug).

  1. You win an ass for putting that headline on top of that picture.

    Enough to talk about, no need for ad hominem.

    1. I know it’s not the most important thing, but that moustache is just wrong. — Diana Vreeland on Hitler

    2. Ad Hominem would require dismissing him based on his eyebrows, not his arguments. Merely being mean about the eyebrows does not constitute an ad hominem.

      And with those eyebrows, it’s hard not to crack some kind of joke.

  2. I don’t think it’s as simple and black and white that one side is good and the other is bad. I’m against cruelty to animals, but it’s an ethical gray area (for me) when they are being used for something like medical research that can really help humanity. I abhor suffering, but I don’t go for the moral relativism that says all life is of equal value, especially when a small sacrifice can garner huge returns. That said, who gets to decide what research is justifiable or not? Was the pcp for squeeze caged monkeys this guy’s big claim to fame, or did he take part in much more significant research?

    1. You say you abhor suffering and are against cruelty to animals. Then you call this situation a grey area. Did you actually read what this monster was doing to these animals? You can’t have it both ways. This Jr. Dr Mengele, self-described pro-vivisectionalist and his ilk deserve every H.I.V. saturated razorblade they get.

  3. Er, uh, Matthew – I wouldn’t call what this guy’s doing with animals “science”. Perverted sadistic decadence sounds more like it.

    What a sad world when people accept Jentsch’s crock work as “science”.

    p.s. I’m expecting the painfully unoriginal onslaught of ironic, sarcastic, and “witty” comments, so I won’t be checking this page anymore.

  4. Whatever happens to him, I hope it’s terrible. AIDS isn’t bad enough.

    Maybe he could be put in a squeeze cage and injected with high doses of PCP.

  5. People against vivisection aren’t opposed to science — in fact there’s data showing that animal models for testing are NOT analogous for human application. There are animal testing alternatives that produce more useful results:

    I don’t really have a comment on ALF’s methods. But my gut reaction is that the work of David Jentsch sounds like sanctioned psychopathy.

    Also, LOLz, Jack.

  6. While I fully support animal testing, I also oppose needless animal cruelty.

    statements like “one involved injecting vervets in “squeeze cages” twice a day with high doses of PCP, then killing them and examining their brains” makes the line of research sound utterly horrific and pointless without explaining the purpose of the tests – investigating schizophrenia, something that affects 1.5% of the world’s human population.

  7. Forget Hitler. More like Jospeh Mengele. Back then, some uninformed, crazy motherf*ckers thought he was practicing science as well.

    1. Do you know what’s really scary? Some of what the Nazis did (not talking about Mengele’s crazy shit with twins, but other stuff) actually obtained pretty good data. A lot of this data is still used today, because obviously what they did will never, and should never, be repeated.

      For instance, there are tables of how long a human can survive in cold water, which are used to save lives in shipwrecks and the like. The tables that are used to this day were drawn up based on often-fatal experiments on concentration-camp prisoners- those data are far more accurate than the alternatives (animal experimentation or anecdotes of shipwreck survivors). No-one would ever repeat those experiments, but the data exist, so we use them- it may be distasteful but the alternative is letting more people die.

  8. You know who else sent razor blades covered in HIV infected blood to scientists doing animal testing?


  9. I remember reading somewhere that Hitler and his oppressive buddies were massive animal rights proponents and environmentalists. I’m sure the ALF would get along with Hitler quite well.

  10. Clearly he used the razor blades to trim his eyebrows. You know who else was into excessive eyebrow grooming? Hitler.

    As to the issue at hand… I have a hard time feeling bad when horrible people do horrible things to other horrible people. Does that make me a horrible person?

  11. This is just another all too prevalent case of what is essentially a group of Hitlers holocausting Hitler for his hitlering of little monkee hitlers. Gimme pony.

  12. Vervet! This is the animal name I was looking for yesterday. I have a client named Varvel and whenever I see his name I think “Isn’t that some sort of small mammal?”. I actually looked up lists of mammals on Wikipedia but I focused on carnivores.

  13. incidentally, against better judgment, he used the HIV razors to shave off the last of those pesky eyebrows.

  14. I was expecting this article to say that the animal activist kidnapped him and plucked his eyebrows this way as a way to punish him. Apparently, he punished himself.

  15. There’s an interesting dichotomy here in the reasoning behind the ALF (and similar organizations). I think it’s fairly obvious that there are real gains in human medicine (and other fields) to be made from animal research. So the ALF must believe that the ends don’t justify the means (even if the methods must be approved by ethics committees and are subject to all kinds of government regulation). But they also think it’s appropriate to use violence and the threat of violence to stop people from doing their jobs.

    I’m not particularly surprised at the hypocrisy there, but it does make you wonder…

    1. I gotta agree with you here. I used to be strictly anti-animal testing because it seemed so cruel, but I realized there could be gains from research on animals. And most articles written about animal testing are quite uniform in content ( i.e only highlights the violence out of context, without mentions of learning). And whether or not there are gains, there’s a huge amount of vigilante hypocrisy going on with the ALF and similar groups who are willing to use extreme, even lethal violence for their cause. That’s a turn of.

  16. Thirty-seven posts and no one notices that this post is wrong?

    ALF didn’t claim to have sent the blades.

    1. You expect us to read the articles before commenting? C’mon, this is the Internet! Smart-assery is so much more important than “facts” and “reason”.

  17. Is ALF not aware of the Animal Welfare Act, USDA regulations, and the existence of IACUCs at every research institution in America? Scientists don’t just shoot up animals for fun. There’s a lot of planning and reviewing before experimental protocols are approved by committee. And hey, animals and drugs cost a lot of money, which researchers don’t have much of. Obviously there’s a point to it.

  18. Those eyebrows are really distracting from this serious issue of animal testing. I’m sure it’s his strategy to scuttle all discussion among his critics with these eye brows. Also, he doesn’t need razor blades, he needs boxes of Sharpie.

  19. I got in a time machine and went back to the early 20th century to kill Hitler before he could wreak havoc on Europe and Judaism, unfortunately I arrived when he was still a small boy so I was faced with the conundrum: if I kill this innocent child, would that make me “as bad as Hitler?”

    1. not if you killed him before he became Bad-Hitler.
      Then you would just be as bad as yourself as you would have ended the lives of countless billions.

      Anyway, does anybody in this debacle, apart from the ALF, think it’s acceptable to endanger human lives in the pursuit of the protection of the sanctity of life?
      I have a feeling any kind of conversation where this is pointed out would end up involving ‘the purpose of the human race’ and other such delectable quandaries.

      I’d really like to hear a cogent argument for this kind of behaviour.
      Or do you just admit you’re behaving unethically and spend your time in defence of your behaviour changing the topic and spinning obfuscation.

      I know I should go to the ALF but it’s cosy here.

  20. I think the painted on eyebrows are used to create a distraction from the serious overbite. You can kind of see where his “man eyebrows” are supposed to be(or were)though, too.

    This dude has some serious issues, no doubt about it. Although the “scientific study” that he is supposedly doing should by no means be taken lightly, I’ve often wondered where these scientists get these drugs? How is their potency relative to the potency of street drugs? What, is there pharmaceutical PCP and methamphetamine?

    Guess who the first documented meth addict was, and this is true, not because it has been mentioned on this thread so many times – it really was Hitler. His personal Doctor shot him up as many as three times per day.

    1. @#47

      Yes, there are pharmaceutical grade drugs like PCP and meth. Meth is actually currently prescribed for things like obesity and attention disorders (though not as a first choice). They’re usually schedule 1 and highly regulated by the DEA.

      I worked for a while with a group that does testing on how drugs affect bodies, though they used human models to understand the pharmacology.

  21. A few quick notes:

    1) The “squeeze cage” thing keeps getting repeated as if this somehow adds to the horror of it all. Squeeze cages actually are a pretty standard thing in veterinary / zoo contexts:


    Basically, any time you need to give any kind of injection (including beneficial ones) to an animal that could hurt you or itself in the process, you use a squeeze cage. I’ve seen a number of different kinds of animals getting injections this way (e.g. for routine medical care), and they don’t seem particularly stressed out by tit. I’d be surprised if the PCP monkeys weren’t *lining up* to be in the squeeze cage. Whether that’s a good thing is another debate.

    2) Someone above asked “who gets to decide [what kind of research he gets to do]”. Everything this guy, and every other scientist, does with animals is exhaustively reviewed by an institutional committee that explicitly must include representatives from the community. Limiting pain and suffering of the animal subjects is a the central component of that review process. And the science itself is thoroughly scrutinized / peer-reviewed during the grant review process (which is itself fiercely competitive), so it’s not like this guy just does whatever he wants for some sick purpose. Quite a few people have judged his work and deemed the methods, purpose, and tradeoffs to be worthwhile.

  22. I hope everyone will note that comments which do not condemn the ALF’s actions are grounds for prosecution under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents will be dropping by shortly to inform you that you have no rights.

  23. Also, it has to be said that the “Justice Department” actions should attract praise from internet libertarians, since this is a perfect example of the market finding solutions to problems. Final solutions.

    Do I get my pony now?

  24. Wait wait, how do we know the monkeys don’t *want* to do PCP, and the cage is some sort of device to protect them from themselves during a PCP induced rage?

  25. total fucking bullshit. I wish an army of 1,000,000 /b/tards against this scum. I plan on immediately posting a link of this thread on a certain black hole of teh netz.

    there is extremely little value (for humans) in utilizing animals for this type of experiment.

    yet, I find myself torn..envious of those sexy eyebrows & wonder what animal-tested makeup product he used to pencil them on.

    1. He was studying schizophrenia. It’s very difficult to simulate human mental illness in animal models; one way is by putting animals on drugs.
      I don’t have the stomach to work with animals, so I chose to do my PhD in microbiology instead, but, FWIW, most people I know who work with mice or (fish or rats or worms or salamanders) really respect and care about their animals, and do their best to minimize their suffering.
      As other people have mentioned, there are EXTENSIVE safeguards in place to ensure that this work merits doing (scientifically), and that the animals are treated as well as possible, and that as few as possible are sacrificed. Moreover, it’s incredibly expensive to work with monkeys; nobody does it on a lark.

      The general public only seems to object to animal research when the animals are cute. No one is lining up to free the fruit flies or the zebrafish.

      1. I think that goes beyond ‘cuteness’ though – the adaptive impulse not to eat things HITLER that look like they contain our genes is exactly the point – monkeys contain EYEBROWS our genes. That’s why they’re doing these tests in the first place, I imagine. The same reason you call these animals cute is the same reason PONY they are being tested. As anthropomorphism (cuteness) increases, so does the relevance STAN SITWELL of the study to humans. There might be more to people not caring when worms are dissected than cuteness, you cynic. GRATUITOUS HITLER!!

      2. Precisely. What non-scientists don’t get is that research costs a lot of money and only a small percentage of grant proposals get funded. Therefore the idea that “worthless” science is being done makes zero sense. In order to get funded (as this work was), the rationale for these experiments had to be more convincing than dozens (in some funding cycles, hundreds) of competing proposals. If anyone doesn’t get the point of this research, that only goes to demonstrate their own ignorance.

        As a computational biologist myself, I’d be the first to argue for the power of simulation as an alternative to experiments. However, I have to be honest and admit that raw data has to come from somewhere, and in work dealing with diseases, that generally means animal testing.

    2. To reference the site you seem to know nothing about: You are and idiot; /b/ doesn’t care about vervets, only cats. god help that man if he cut up cats.

      If you don’t like animal testing, I invite you to opt out of the majority of modern medical treatments. Do you think we should just accept that people die from a myriad of diseases and make no effort to cure them?

      1. I mean, seriously: the next time any of you are at the doctors office and are prescribed ANY treatment, ask the doctor “has this treatment been developed without the use of animal models?”. The answer will be no. Many surgeons practice on pigs. If you get any drug or device that has been approved for use in humans it has been thoroughly tested on animals first.

  26. Did anyone even think to ask the monkeys how they feel about their experiences? Maybe they enjoy the PCP and / or meth…..that is until their brains are extracted for study. I hear Hitler liked his meth administered by eating meth laced monkey brains on toast….

  27. I guess you can’t always depend on your shimmy.

    Also, ALF didn’t claim responsibility for torching Jentsch’s vehicle.

  28. Jentsch has been sent from the future to prevent the ALF from releasing a super virus that forces humanity to live underground. Only, it turns out, the ALF was just a red herring. It’s a classic Cassandra complex. No matter how ‘eureka’ Jentsch paints his eyebrows – no one in the past-that-is-present believes he’s a real scientist. Also he’s Hitler. Pony up.

  29. Being a tree-hugging dirt worshipper, I have a certain respect for all living things and a desire to see animals treated humanely.

    That said, I’ve never seen a coyote stop and say “but that rabbit is so cute- maybe I should just have a salad”. The law of nature seems pretty clear that as long as I have canine teeth, I’m allowed to eat anything that can’t outrun me.

    I do believe however, that we as creatures occasionally capable of reason, compassion, and foresight have a certain responsibility to consider the effects of our actions on our environment and whatever critter it is that we’re about to fillet and serve up with a nice red sauce. We have the ability to distinguish between killing a chicken to feed ourselves and packing 20 chickens in a 4×5 cage to raise a profit margin.

    If dissecting a few animals leads to curing cancer or AIDS, I’m all for it. If it helps get the latest shade of nail polish to market a few weeks quicker, then no. There’s a lot of grey area here.

    Random eyebrow comment.
    Obligatory Hitler reference.
    Justification for eyebrow comment as separate from ad hominem attack.
    Secondary Hitler comment.

  30. Oh that ALF! His wisecracks and one liners are SO hilarious!

    “Putting humans in charge of earth is the cosmic equivalence of letting Eddie Murphy direct”

    HAHAHA! Totally underrated!

    Wait. . .what?

  31. My green screen skills aren’t up to snuff, but there’s a whole new dimension of Untergang potential here somewhere.

  32. Jentsch has a long history in research devoted to treating mental illnesses and he had this to say in an interview last year.

    How do you respond to their argument that the research you do can be done without animal testing?

    This simply is not true, though I wish it were. I wait for a world where a technology exists that will allow us to monitor the basic biology of the human brain non-invasively; if it did, we could make profound steps toward the treatment of human mental illness. Though some such technologies exist (e.g., brain scans, EEG), their level of resolution is simply not good enough to tell us the real details about how mental disorders arise. They do not provide us a window into the biochemical processes that go awry in schizophrenia or addiction, and consequently, research in animals that gives us that exceptional resolution at a molecular level is required.

  33. It is SCIENCE folks. If you don’t understand how it works, please don’t comment. Ooops its the internet. But you can google the guys >100 peer reviewed publications.

    If you think you can find better cures for the diseases he or other scientists work on, write your grants, do your studies and get them peer reviewed and published. Animals are by far the most expensive part of any studies and labs would love to save money, but they keep us from having to do studies on poor people (pun intended).

    That is not to say that all animals (or employees) are treated as well as they could be, but if a lab screws up, they don’t get published or funded.

    When I was in grad school without health care, our mice saw a doctor every single day. That is until some activists set them “free,” including the ones that took years to breed. All the mice had to be killed and many, many more ordered to re-breed.
    Our HIV and diabetes research delayed.

    1. medical science of this type is a huge FAIL.

      fact: the percentage of human population (exclusive of population size) experiencing disease has only increased in the 20th century…despite, ironically, the so-called increase in scientific knowledge.

      mental health on the rise, obesity on the rise, diabetes on the rise, heart disease on the rise, cancer on the rise, etc.

      funny, that. One would think that all of that animal testing out there would have reversed this trend, right? Hmmmmm.

      1. Malaria decreasing, Schistosomiasis decreasing, Measles decreasing, Scarlet Fever decreasing, Pertussis decreasing (save for isolated pockets where idiotic antivaxers have had an influence), Smallpox wiped out, Dracunculiasis almost gone. You really don’t have a reference frame outside your comfortable western experience do you. The only reason why those afflictions you mention are getting to kill people is because people are surviving the infectious diseases which used to wipe them out.

      2. @user23:

        Nice logic. Because, of course, there couldn’t possibly be other factors (e.g. changing diet, decreasing activity levels) that contribute to things like obesity and diabetes, that have nothing to do with medical science. Or are those somehow medical science’s fault?

        And I won’t even bother with the nuances of explaining diseases that occur at higher rates when people survive to be older.

        No, you’re totally right. We were much better off before the twentieth century when we had polio, smallpox, no antibiotics, and infant mortality rates of up to 25%. Yeah, that was grand. Too bad medical science and animal testing screwed that up. Please feel free to abstain from accepting modern medical care.

        1. my simple point is that animals are not humans. humans are not animals.

          for instance, the diseases I referenced in my earlier post…most of them have a strong/direct correlation with diet.

          most information in the US today is drawn from animal studies. Mostly rats, mostly from the 50s.

          If that information was so valuable, why are people developing food-related illness more quickly than ever?

          So many people here think that Science is so infallible..and rely so much upon Science that to get them to think outside that paradigm is like asking a raving Christian to use a little logic about God and ask some questions.

          When one looks at the how’s, why’s & where’s of the Scientific process…one can easily find some holes. Just look around you, they are everywhere to be found.

          Now, of course, I’m not debunking all of science. Of course vaccinations work. Of course. Just pointing out, though, that small pox was tested on a small boy.

          tests on animals that are artificially infected with a human disease may give false or misleading results.

          in summation (speaking of holes, gaping holes in my post..but, I’m just making small comments, not trying to win a court case)…how can anyone really believe that examining Animal brains can lead to understanding Human brains & human psychoses? We don’t even take information in or process it in the same way. How do I know? Last I heard monkey’s can’t talk. know what I mean? Just one example of the endless examples of how our brain structures are utterly different from each.

          ps: squeeze cages are apparently humane. rolleyes

          1. Humans are not animals? You are seriously saying humans are not animals. Were you home-schooled by extra screwed-up christian fundamentalists or what?

      3. Good to know we’re catching all this stuff now, as opposed to before where people had diabetes, cancer, and other diseases and we didn’t know exactly why they were dying.

      4. user23, have you taken into account that our medical knowledge has increased 100 fold, and that we become increasingly better at discovering and diagnosing new diseases?

        Also, not all diseases can be cured. But many can and do get treated, also here increasingly more.

        Think about that…

  34. Except taht I don’t believe he uses the term “head of a pro-vivisection advocacy group”. Using that sort of hyperbole just about qualifies you for the pony.

    1. Oh, listen, explicit and disturbing pictures of lab research primates operated on while alive (= vivisection) are a quick google away. If I’d wanted to mimic the pro-lifers’ approach, I’d have posted a dozen of them here. But I didn’t. So, take your complaints elsewhere.

      1. Look how cute these animals are and here are these reprehensible acts that this scientist did, but I will neglect to mention the nuanced rationale or any sort of context for performing the aforementioned reprehensible acts.

  35. Strange brau of both bads
    Strange brows of herr Jentsch held high
    strange gent, shhh – don’t “heil”

  36. If the torture of these animals is a “small sacrifice” why don’t we use born again Christians who can revel in their martyrdom?

  37. “The general public only seems to object to animal research when the animals are cute. No one is lining up to free the fruit flies or the zebrafish.”


    And WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO HIS EYEBROWS??? Nobody has posted a clear answer to that.

    1. What happened to his eyebrows?

      Clearly he does drag on weekends. That is what plucked eyebrows look like whey they have been totally removed and partially drawn back in.

      Maybe he works for the cosmetic industry on the side. They do a lot of animal torture.

  38. Whenever something like this is reported in the news media (anywhere in the news media) no matter what bias they may have, there is always one bias you can count on: controversy. That is what sells. The description of the animal tests is set up in such a way as to make him seem like he’s torturing animals for no scientific reason, and the description of the mailed razor blades makes it seem like he was in imminent danger. I doubt either is true.

    There are a lot of things about our modern world I dislike, but I can live with vivisection if it is done with valid scientific aims (and hopefully the least amount of pain to the animal, even though that may be too much to ask in many cases.) There is only so much outrage I can muster anymore, I will save it for factory farms and puppy mills, or more likely the destruction of the rain forest where entire species of animals are being wiped out, before I lose any sleep over what is probably legitimate scientific research.

    Hopefully someday we can put this kind of research behind us, but in the meantime this kind of tactic does not advance ALF’s cause one bit.

  39. I wouldn’t call what this guy’s doing with animals “science”. Perverted sadistic decadence sounds more like it.

    Tell me about it! In all seriousness… anyone who is convicted of ‘Crimes against humanity’ should be used for these experiments instead. I hope the ALF guys get him eventually.

    I dont know how reliable the data will be, but I hereby volunteer myself for the free pills and pcp as long as we can replace the unpleasant brain-choppy bit with a bit of Q&A.

    1. I hope the ALF guys get him eventually.
      Nobly volunteering for the research as an alternative, yet prefacing that by support for criminal injury of another person both undermines your gesture and projects you blazing ignorance and myopia.

  40. (Some of) Dr. Jentsch’s articles on pubmed. A very small number are free to read. From a cursory examination, most of them fall into the category of Basic Research– and thus the alternatives to “vivisection” won’t work. You can’t experiment on a computer model of the brain, if you don’t know how to build an accurate computer model of the brain.

  41. So, take your complaints elsewhere.
    …not to mention your uninteresting opinion.

    “I want everyone to say everything like I says it iz” -pg34

  42. why don’t they just waterboard the vervets? Yoo established that its not illegal, although that doesn’t mean he suggests scientists actually have to waterboard any vervets

  43. Nobly volunteering for the research as an alternative, yet prefacing that by support for criminal injury of another person both undermines your gesture and projects you blazing ignorance and myopia.

    Aw, have I upset the fragile temperament of a scientist? Go f**k yourself, buddy. My point doesn’t do anything you claim – I suspect you just don’t like my clearly violent anti-animal testing stance which is the exact thing that is making this jerk off with horribly manicured eyebrows fear for his safety.

    Let me translate it for you as, based on the missing ‘r’ in your comment, you aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

    anyone who is convicted of ‘Crimes against humanity’ should be used for these experiments instead.
    Translation: War criminals and people of their ilk deserve to die before innocent animals.

    I hope the ALF guys get him eventually.
    Translation: Scientists with irrelevant research topics should die before innocent animals.

    1. Go fuck myself? Lovely. You are deftly demonstrating what an excellent point you have. I may have forgotten an ‘r’, but you left reason and civility far, far behind. Have you bothered to read what Jentsch actually does? Are you just eager for harm to come to another human? I truly don’t understand how anyone can take the position you (and some others here) do. As I and others have pointed out, will you opt out of nearly all modern medicine? When your children are sick, will you take them to a shaman or a western doctor? Please, trolling aside, anyone speaking of violence, how do you resolve these issues?

  44. Who here wants to be HE sent those blades to himself.

    Between those eyebrows and the proud monkey torture, and the attention he gets as an animal rights “terror” martyr, I think there’s motive and a pattern of sociopathy here

  45. You know what animal research has done? Let me live 40+ years. I spent 30+ of those years with a pig’s heart valve. Don’t think animal research is ethical? Fine. Refuse all medical advances which were based on animal research. That includes, let’s see… Well, pretty much all of modern western medicine. So no doctor for you. Maybe you should go back to ‘traditional’ medicines. You know, like, say, ground tiger penis, or rhino horn. Oh, wait…

    ALF are no less terrorist zealots than Islamists or McVeigh-like anti-federalists. And frankly, PeTA’s rhetoric isn’t too far off.

    Basic research is the foundation of every bit of modern medicine in existence.

    Fuck these fucking fucks. Now excuse me, I’m gonna go have a nice roast beef sandwich. And for desert, a bacon-chocolate bar. Mmmm. Autophagiriffic!

  46. Would people STAY ON TOPIC.
    The topic is: e y e b r o w s.
    Got it?
    How did he get those eyebrows?
    That’s all we want to know.
    Anyone deviating from this mandate
    will be shunned from the tribe.

  47. From the little I understood about the description of his study (the one with the squeeze cages and PCP) it suggests they are studying the effects of drugs also given to people with Schizophrenia, one hopes, with the intent of finding out how to better help those people.

    Is it because the monkeys are Cute? are we so disconnected from nature that the only animals that matter are pseudo-children? I often wondered about Dolphin Friendly Tuna – why can’t I buy Tuna friendly Dolphin? There’s heaps of Dolphins, and for all I know, they taste Lovely. The Japanese seem to enjoy them. You probably think Kangaroos are cute, you should see their bloated corpses lining the roads in Australia :) They are a pest to, but I am still not giving up land based transport so skippy can live happily ever after.

    When it comes down to it, Animals don’t have Human rights because they are, well, animals. I’m glad that this guy, and his profession have ethical guidelines to minimize the harm done to animals but at the end of the day if I wind up with Alzheimer’s, I hope that guys like this have invented a way to treat it, and I don’t mind at all that they did it using Monkeys. Better to use Monkeys that convicts, or poor people, or stolen Cadavers, or unsuspecting populations like we have done in the past.

  48. What people sometimes forget when comparing the Holocaust or attempt at complete elimination perpetrated by Europe on Jews is that Jews are PEOPLE, the story is about ANIMAL research. The European Fascists and fellow travelers wanted to cause a complete extinction of all Jews worldwide, perhaps even more than conquering land in open warfare.

    1. And it also seems that most PEOPLE conveniently forget that PEOPLE are ANIMALS, plain and simple. We are not “above” them, we do not “control” or “have dominion” over them no matter what anyone’s ignorant, superstition-ridden religion has been hammered into their brains. At least most creatures on this planet have a niche with a purpose in the biosphere which hold the planet in balance. Man, contrary to their claim of “intelligence”and “superiority” has neither. Can you say “self-destructing in less than a blink of an eye”?

  49. The eyebrows appear to have been waxed and shaped? Or they also look like they’ve been shaved and then painted on (tattooed?).

    Here’s my preferred version; One of the Monkey’s got loose and ripped them off his head – Unfortunately the rest of the monkey’s had to pay the price. But Oh the moment it occurred was Ooh sooo worth it….the monkeys would remember and smile …as long as they were “with brain” that is.

    I believe our society still requires a certain amount of animal testing for the wellbeing of our species. That said that does not mean it cannot be done HUMANELY. Has anyone seen “Temple Grandin”? (The humane approach to a slaughterhouse.)

    We CAN test and treat animals humanely – but just like creating anything with integrity – it requires effort, time, care – which most people and corporations aren’t as concerned with – rather time, money , quick fix easy results. ei: Parenting via plopping kids in front of TV 24/7 without any real interaction, vs. teaching, care, discipline in setting healthy necessary boundaries – loving cultivation – takes time and energy to do it well.

    I am strongly against vivisection as a whole but there may instances when it is the only way to get the answers needed – then it should go before a legal panel of sorts that determines the specific’s to avoid animal suffering as much as possible. It does come down to the details.

    ANYTHING that has or can be used for good can be used for ‘evil’. (Even the Bible). So it is up to us to monitor these things closely. A.L.F. seem to be actively engaged in this fight (albeit rather violent ways), but surely also have engaged this in battle in the legal realm – where it will more likely (hopefully) do some actual good.

    So what can we do? Take a stand for “the right thing” however you define that without incurring more harm. Adopt or rescue a pet from a shelter and give it a home before it gets “put down”. Do “good” where ever you can – it all matters. Offer David Jentsch to sew his eyebrows back on. Oooops – Well we gotta have some fun!

    Blessings and Happy Holidays all and thanks Xeni for the post and the awareness that UCLA allows this…xo

  50. He’s clearly carrying on his predecessors’ work of creating mean monkeys, so that makes him 5/16 Mengele or another famous Dr. M (not Mabuse):

    We walk on two legs, not on four, to walk on four legs breaks the law!
    What happens when we break the law?
    What happens when the rules aren’t fair?
    We all know where we go from the-e-ere…

  51. 7.00 A.M: Morning. Toast. Coffee. Shower. Razor off beard. Permanent marker. Re paint eyebrows.
    Fake eyebrows!!! Yay.

    They’re cool because you can paint them according to your mood that day! You can look real evil all week without making any effort!

  52. Wen-Ho-Lee-Shit, this is the most ignorant and irresponsible post I have ever seen on BoingBoing. This totally beats the climate change denialism business from a while back.

    Before I even burn the energy on a proper rant, I have to pose some questions to the mob:

    1. operated on while alive (= vivisection)
    Why yes, in the same way that terminated pregnancies = “baby killing” and forced-birth advocacy = “pro-life”. The word “vivisection” is always and everywhere a polemic and not a scientific word. Question: if an animal is subjected to a survival surgery while anaesthetized and then given effective analgesics following surgery during healing, all for experimental purposes, is it “vivisection?” And separately, is it unacceptably cruel if the research is sound? Does “pro-vivisectionist” = “pro-animal-research?”

    2. Does anybody here know what a “squeeze-cage” actually is, what it’s used for, why it was adopted for use in animal care, and what the experience of an animal in a “squeeze-cage” is actually like?

    3. When you say “high doses of PCP,” does anyone know what “high” means, relatively speaking? High compared to what – recreational use in humans? Does anybody know what PCP can be used for besides tripping? Does anyone know how its effects differ at different dosages? Does anyone know whast the dosage for the monkeys actually was, and what the expected effects were? Do the doses used produce subjectively negative experiences for the monkeys? Does anyone know how PCP is related to the human suffering Jentsch’s research is seeking to relieve?

    4. Did Xeni really take the time to find links for “pro-vivisectionist advocacy group” and to include a picture of the doctor’s funny eyebrows, without writing a single word about the scientific justification — whether you buy it or not — for the research involved?

    5. Should I ever take another science post of any kind on BoingBoing seriously after this? Can anyone tell me why I should?

  53. Faith-based arguments like “I’m sure SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL SCIENTIFIC animal research has delivered concrete advances in medicine, like, um,” win no points for sophistication over the one sentence self-evident “This is fucking disgusting.”

    No matter how many paragraphs you write.

  54. Ok animals rights peeps, you’ve left me with no choice but to resume my “sponsor a vegetarian” policy. For every pro-ALF, “won’t somebody think of the cute fluffy animals, that bastard deserves AIDs!” post, I will eat another animal.

    Think before you post- is it really worth seeing an innocent animal become my snack because of your ignorant opinion? I am 100% serious; your post will mean the death of a cute fluffy animal (mmm fois gras). Is it worth it?

    1. But will you have the guts to go kill it yourself? Or will you show how badass you are by going to the store and buying something in shrinkwrapped plastic about 19 steps removed from the actual dirty work of killing, tough guy?

    2. Has nothing to do with “cute, fluffy animals” or “pro-ALF”. Has everything to do with ability of our species to have any useful purpose on this earth. You know, like doing anything other than consume and destroy. And don’t give me all that art and beauty and love shit. Sorry, this branch didn’t evolve and we’ve come to the end of our “tree”.

      1. Purpose is a value judgment. The Earth is no divine clockwork with every animal a gear. Why should value be dependent on the utility given to other animals? Is your value as a person dependent on the number of widgets you produce, or is it due to the fact that you are a self-aware entity who participates peacefully in a pluralistic society? If we don’t decide value, what entity does?

        Besides, you are wrong. We have carved out our own niche. Entire ecosystems and a fair number of species depend on us absolutely either parasitically or symbolically. If we are viewing the biosphere as art, I would say the unique complexities lent by human civilization enrich the work.

        Dungeon’s & Dragons-style spiritualistic elven misanthropy is a somewhat peculiar outlook. Absolutely flummoxing. Care to lay out the underpinnings thereof?

        1. I’m referring to “purpose” from an evolutionary standpoint. Art, purpose,value, intelligence, etc,etc,etc are all human concepts which are meaningless, as is everything else in this universe. I know absolutely nothing about dungeons & dragons, whatever elven nonsense you are going on about, and I am not in the least “spiritual”. Widget producing is also useless and meaningless. And no, we have not carved out a niche, we have just “carved out”. Sixty-one years of observation and study have brought me to these conclusions. Also, check out a book by David Benatar, “Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence”.

          1. Humans have just as much “purpose from an evolutionary standpoint” as everything else, that is to say, none. Evolution doesn’t assign purpose or value or anything else of the sort. It is just a blind, constantly shifting, maximization algorithm. It’s a thing, not a philosophy, not a mind. One may as well say we don’t have purpose from a Marianas Trench standpoint. Sounds a lot like spirituality to me.

            Additionally, how do you think niches are formed? They weren’t discrete and assigned at the dawn of time. Organisms opened them up as they adapted and stumbled upon knew ways of gaining an edge. With us came the farming/civilization niche (along with others). With that advent, new stresses and opportunities were opened up for other lifeforms (leading to a boom in raccoon populations). We aren’t magic, civilization is as much a product of evolution as bobcats.

  55. Respect for non-human animals is not based on cuteness, imo. It is usually based on how intelligent the creature is. So a bedbug gets no respect, but a monkey or a dolphin (which could probably do our taxes for us) gets much more.

  56. Doesn’t PCP kill pain in the first place? I was under the impression it was particularly dangerous for that very reason (it makes people, and presumably apes and monkeys, feel temporarily invulnerable).

    I’d say if there’s a drug to give them right before they’re going to be euthanized PCP is actually, probably a humane one… But I could be way off. I actually don’t know that much about PCP. Total speculation. But let’s keep in mind… This is shit that some humans take completely and entirely voluntarily.

    Where’s the vivisection part come in? And if they do it… is it while they’re loaded up on PCP?

    1. In nearly all cases, vivisection is performed under deep anesthesia. In rodents the drug is usually Pentobarbital. The animal’s reflexes are checked to ensure the animal doesn’t feel anything. The methods for every published experiment are stated in their own section, and every step has been reviewed by a review board consisting of a veterinarian and outside sources.

  57. I can’t believe no one has pointed this out. There’s no way to send HIV-tainted razor blades. It’s an old urban myth.

    Why? Because HIV is actually a weak virus when it’s outside a host. Blood on the razors dries, proteins degrade. So does the virus. Unless you delivered VERY fresh razor blades (and I mean really, really freshly infected ones). Other virus like Hepatitis B are very resilient and can survive longer, but HIV is not good withouth cells to sustain it.

  58. Remember kids, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

    So Jentsch is trying to do this, kill a few primates (his research monkeys) to benefit a larger group of primates (humanity). I’m hardly experienced enough in the area of neuroscience to know whether or not his research is sound, useful, or just plain nuts, and I’m willing to bet that almost none of you are also experienced enough to make that call.

    The ALF claims that this is wrong, and promptly tries to kill a few primates (Jentsch) to benefit a larger group of monkeys (his research animals).

    If you think Jentsch is an asshole, the ALF is way worse, as they’re willing to kill for a much smaller benefit (20 research monkeys vs understanding schizophrenia).

    I’m wondering when the ALF will finally get classified as terrorists, as they should’ve been a long time ago, and get Fed attention. Fire bombings, threats, attempts on the lives of high visibility members of society. Sounds like a terrorist organization to me!

  59. The monkeys fought the sadistic fucker off as hard as they could. You can tell they at least got to rip his eyebrows off before he strapped them down and shoved hot pokers in their assholes.

  60. I was going to comment on how most of this guy’s work is freely available on pubmed with detailed methods on animal care and ethical considerations, and that there are ethical standards laid out by UCLA, state and federal government and any experiment involving animals must be passed by an outside review board who are not scientists. A fair response would be, “Who decides these standards? Special interest groups?” Debate on ethics in a democracy might ensue.

    But it’s the internet. Hitler! Monkey torture! Eyebrows!

  61. ALF are terrorists (and bad ones). If they want to upgrade to something better one of their members would have the balls to do something face to face. Way to be so committed to your cause that you have no results, look crazier than ever, and try to hide behind your name instead of your own commitment. If you are going to attempt to kill a man for a cause “you believe in” you should just kill him and face the consequences instead of hiding in a crowd and trying to not get caught.

    I have more respect for an idiot thinking he’s doing good in pretty much fruitless research standing up for what he truly believes in than a group of idiot animal lovers that can’t even grow enough spine to follow through.

    Note: Anyone advocating murder (or similar) because the beliefs they hold are “more right” than someone else’s are the ones most like Hitler.

  62. This post and comment thread left me very sad and depressed. David Jentsch was my advisor, I worked in his lab for 5 years, and know him quite well. Yes, his preference in facial hair styling is easily mocked, but please keep in mind that this is a real, live, breathing, kind and caring human being, who could easily start working for a pharmaceutical giant and rake in the dough, but who has chosen instead to do basic research at a public institution because he actually gives two shits about people, and is genuinely motivated by a desire to find a cure for schizophrenia and make unfortunate peoples’ lives better. These are the people that you see talking to themselves on the bus, and than you make a disgusted face and promptly forget about them.

    He does this by using methods that are ethical, sanctioned by the University he works at, and an independent committee whose mission is to safeguard and protect the welfare of animals, and who have to sign off on every single step of the protocols he follows. Protocols that are in place to make sure that no animal suffers in the pursuit of science, and that no procedure is carried out that is not strictly necessary. He’s doing research that is hard, and unfortunately the only way that the best minds on the planet know to advance our knowledge of the biochemical mechanisms in the brain that lead to a disease that affects 1.5% of the population, across genders, age, and ethnicity.

    And for his troubles, his car has been burned, he gets a handful of freaks under his window every weekend with signs calling him a murderer and inciting his neighbors to kick him out, gets death threats, had to move our of his home, has to live with constant security.

    It’s as easy to ride a wave of “outrage by proxy” as it is to mock his eyebrows, and spew nonsense about animal research being useless, as if there were some giant conspiration to keep this money-making fraudulent scheme going. This from the same crowd that mocks the ICP for their anti-science stance, or musters monumental amounts of indignation when their junk is being touched.

    You don’t like how animal research is being carried on? Fine: write to your congressmen, your senators, your legislators, your research centers, your Universities. Articulate your arguments, make your point, try to change the rules. At the very least, try to get informed about what science research actually entails and why it’s done the way it is.

    1. This from the same crowd that mocks the ICP for their anti-science stance, or musters monumental amounts of indignation when their junk is being touched.

      Yeah, but the ICP is far worse than a marilyn-monbrowed monkey killer.

  63. This subject was the sort that induced lots of noise even before the internet gave free reign to trolling.
    I’d say to ignore all the hyperbolic shouting and focus on the few calm, intelligent posts debating the ethical quandary.

    But, you know… Actual death treats? That’s the sort of thing to take very seriously.

    We’re not a collection of very happy mutants tonight, are we?

  64. Squeeze cages actually are a pretty standard thing in veterinary / zoo contexts
    Has anyone seen “Temple Grandin”?

    Temple Grandin seemed pretty OK with using them on her own self to calm herself down.

    About the eyebrows … I’m hoping it was just a Bunsen burner accident. I’ve seen it. Someone unscrews the valve all the way out, then later someone else turns on the flow at the wall and goes to light that sucker up … WHOOOMPH. Ex-eyebrows.

    It’s not fun to see someone being cast as “other” just because they don’t look like Ken or Barbie. In one photo.

  65. Bunson burner accident; LMAO – if it was don’t you think he would’ve at least drawn them on where his man eyebrows were?

    That dude prbably lives an alternate lifestyle for sure.
    Has anyone but me ever noticed that a good percentage of the extremely brilliant and gifted scientists and inventors with genius and above IQ’s have always been relatively out of touch with society as a whole? The Unabomber immediately comes to mind.

    1. … if it was don’t you think he would’ve at least drawn them on where his man eyebrows were? That dude probably lives an alternate lifestyle for sure.

      Perhaps an unfortunate encounter … with a … mechanical ricepicker …

      No, I don’t really believe that either. It looks like you’re right. Based on one photo.

  66. The only time I’ve seen eyebrows like those were on a professional drag queen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… really. What he does in his private life is his own business. However, he could have filled them in more with the pencil.

  67. so.. anyway… what is the deal with “HIV-tainted razor blades”? We know that HIV does not travel well outside the body. Within a few hours virtually all infectious viral particles are gone. In fact you have a better chance of cutting your finger on shattered Erisian unicorn corn-horn shards. What could have been the thinking behind this threat? What would Dr. J do with them? Wouldn’t it have been better to send something else? It seems like a poorly thought out threat.

  68. hmmmm… so funny thing, an awful lot of the medical procedures that are in use today actually have direct roots back to medical experimentation upon victims of the holocaust, or more specifically the victims of medical experimentation during ww2 (it wasn’t just the Jews that where massacred). I seem to recall reading an interesting tidbit that mentioned that modern western medicine was pushed forward nearly a hundred years as a result.

    Its all the same rhetoric from all sides, I as a supporter of cause x am clearly morally superior to you, supporter of cause y.

    Maybe, just maybe we ALL need to shut the fuck up, pull or heads out of our collective asses and admit that the blood and suffering is on EVERYONES hands… good job Xeni!

  69. Disclaimer I work in animal neuroscience. So that is out of the way, now to the fun met-discussion part,as I have a hunch, that this forum is off limits for a scholarly discussion about the targeted scientist research or the legality/morality/effectivity of the methods of protest against said research. But let me just give you an impression of the quality of alternative methods that are usually recommended by people rejecting animal research. Just assume you work in one of the creative professions and people way out of your field (for the sake of the argument, ay neuroscientists) would propose you stop doing this and use Comic Sans for all your typography needs, since surely it suffices for all their needs and besides they never understood what creativity is good for anyways.(Okay, that might be too extreme, but hey even just Helvetica would be awfully limiting)

  70. My nephew has schizophrenia. I love animals. I love him more. I wish there was a way to find out how our brains really work without sacrificing vervet monkeys, or other primates. But I understand that there is currently no such way, and if this researcher’s work can help lead to the day when no one has to go through (and put his family through) what my nephew has experienced (which I doubt anyone here can even imagine), then I support what he is doing.

    On the other hand, I won’t buy any shampoo or the like that is tested on animals, I buy cage-free eggs, etc. One does what one can to reduce suffering. I also spend 1-3 hours a night on the phone listening to my nephew and trying to help him feel better about his existence in this world…

  71. It turns out that Hitler was supposedly against vivisection:

    According to an article in Die Wiesse Fahne volume 14, 1933, Dr. Goebbels stated that:

    “Adolph Hitler does not drink alcohol or smoke and, moreover, is a vegetarian.”

    “… that your Fuhrere is the strongest opponent of any form of animal torment; especially of vivisection … ”

    Of course, that was just Nazi propaganda.

  72. I’d like to point out that the vast increase in health since the turn of the 20th century is due in most part to increased knowledge of hygiene and access to clean water. This is not to say that newly discovered drugs since then have not done anything to help fight disease of course. Secondly, contrary to what some people here are saying medicine was not all worthless superstition before the invention of animal testing.

    Also — this is a genuine inquiry — how is it that animal testing is helpful when there are so many instances in which humans react differently than animals to the same substance? We can’t determine whether a potentially edible plant or fungus is safe for humans by seeing that other animals will eat it, so how can we determine that a medicine is safe just because it’s safe for a rat?

    1. Dear seachange, regarding your inquiry, the answer as often is it depends. Animal testing can rule out a lot of toxic substances or help to figure out toxic doses of substances. Animal testing can help figure out mechanisms by which diseases work. Animal testing can help to figure out whether candidate substances work against a disease (or its symptoms). In short animal testing produces a lot of results required before a substance is considered safe to be tested on humans (clinical studies). This works amazingly well because all animals are really similar in basic physiology, but even with this testing occasionally nasty side effects are not found (leaving a risk for clinical studies). (And in following Murphy’s law even clinical studies occasionally fail to detect all ill side effects, but as dramatic as that is that is life.)

  73. Did She who made the lamb also make this pernicious jellybelly health guru?

    I’m of the view that they’re not eyebrows – they’re eye bows, and at the end of the bows are many buckets of pure sh*t…

    “Let us not deceive ourselves. The guinea-pig’s reputation is spurious.” — Editorial, The Medical Press, January 19, 1955, p. 45

    At the end of the nineteenth century Dr. Anna Kingsford, Britain’s first woman doctor, wrote: “The spiritual malady that rages in the soul of the vivisector is in itself sufficient to render him incapable of acquiring the highest and best knowledge. He finds it easier to propagate and multiply disease than to discover the secret of health. Seeking for the germs of life, he invents only new methods of death.”

    Animal research is useless because misleading and therefor unscientific, since man and animal are not the same. It is also cruel, brutalising and immoral; it is in truth a crime.

    Dr. Ph. Marechal, physician, and also Mayor of the 8th District of Paris, stated in 1914 (as reported in the Journal of the “International League Against Vivisection”, Brussels, April/June 1924, p. 13): “Most of the dangerous medicaments, senseless operations and inapplic­able theories stem from the criminal and crazy brains of the vivisectors. There have been and still are heroes within the ranks of the medical profession, but we do not want to tolerate monsters within it”

  74. I simply do not know enough to comment on the value of this man’s work, or the degree to which what he does is cruel. Could someone please direct me to some kind of assessment of the value of vivisection which presents some sort of actual evidence? I think that my problem is primarily that, while I accept that there are some people who may take pleasure in animal cruelty, it seems unlikely that these people could get substantial funding without there being some anticipated benefit. I mean, if a pharmaceutical company funds a research project which produces no usable data, it is unlikely to fund additional, similar projects. Somewhere, somehow, this research must have produced something useful. I’m looking for that information so that I can more effectively weigh the benefits against the cost. Thanks to anyone that can help.

  75. To Anon #109 – There are ongoing nonconsensual experiments of the nastiest variety being done on humans in the US today. Most of the information on the net is fake – we don’t know what they are using or who is behind it. This way real victims don’t get a voice. And we have to contend with internet censors (in my case).

    To Mungo: That is correct – people can rally around the legal aspects. Institutional research of this type goes through review boards. If people have a problem with the research, they can go above the neuroscientists’ heads.

    That being said, I personally think it’s disgusting. In addition, in general one cannot divorce science from the business scheme behind it. My father can’t afford a new $80,000 a round chemo. So whatever monkeys were tortured for that medicine, the interest was more likely the financial rewards than my father’s health.

    People can go on about how many diseases have been eradicated, but not ironically, *malaria* has and continues to be the #1 killer in several countries… and yet we have medication for “male dysfunction.” There is something inherently wrong with this system. So much for the business model. And I won’t pretend that universities are not part of the business model. They most certainly are.

    The CIA did tests in the 50s and 60s on incapacitated and/or unwitting victims. These were also in the interest of brain and brain-behavior studies. Yet who was saved by any of that? No one. The potential saved people may not even exist. In fact, I doubt people were tortured to alleviate the pain of others. Even if they knew they would be put through misery to save someone, they might not do it. I wouldn’t volunteer and I most certainly do not consent.

    I’m a victim of ongoing involuntary experiments. Unlike other people, I don’t get to have conversations on the net that are not monitored or sometimes interfered with. I don’t get to rally politically around the issue because there is communications interference between me and the people who could help. I don’t get to hire a lawyer because by the time the “experiment” was overt, I had been financially destroyed, bullied, harassed and had some kind of bodily interference. I don’t get to join with other victims because the ones who claim to be by now are delusional with cover stories about what this is or who is behind it, or are fakes working for the system. I didn’t sign up for the hell life.

    Maybe when the other scientists get the monkeys to communicate with people they can tell us what their lives were like and whether they are utilitarians who would sacrifice their lives – and whether they even trust the science behind it.

    I would like to see a People LF or “Justice Department” come to my defense. They don’t need to do terrorist acts. (I don’t condone terrorism). All they have to do is expose these rats behind the experiments and covering them up. Let the public, their colleagues, their families etc. have a go at them. I’m sure the Hitler analogies will work quite well when that happens.

  76. On second thought – why would a “terrorist” send something with someone’s DNA sample on it? Saying they had HIV is almost begging for that blood to be tested. Odd.

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