UCLA neuroscientist David Jentsch, who performs drug tests on vervet monkeys at the university, was the target of a particularly gnarly animal-rights protest this week.
He received a package at his home containing alleged AIDS-infested razor blades and a menacing note comparing him to Frankenstein. Protesters added that instead of living in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Jentsch should probably be living in hell.
It appears the great spirit of the vervet monkeys has spoken. A UCLA press release notes that a similar package may have also been sent to one of Jentsch's grad students.
The university defended the prestigious endeavors of its faculty yesterday:
"The work, much of it funded by the National Institutes of Health, has provided critical insights into the biochemical processes that contribute to methamphetamine addiction and tobacco dependence in teens and the cognitive disabilities affecting behavior, speech and reasoning in schizophrenia patients."
Jentsch added: "Responsible use of animals in research aimed at improving the health and welfare of the mentally ill is the right thing to do, and we will continue because we have a moral responsibility to society to use our skills for the betterment of the world."
The professor of psychology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences is no stranger to violent activism. In March 2009, UCLA Magazine wrote that he looked out the window of his "cottage-style house" to see his 2006 Volvo engulfed in flames. A car bomb had been planted beneath it.
The Animal Liberation Front, which claims no association to the extremists who targeted Jentsch, has revealed that the bloody stunt is one in a series by a group that calls itself the "Justice Department," founded in the United Kingdom and hoping to cause "abusers to have but a taste of the fear and anguish their victims suffer on a daily basis." In Jentsch's case, protesters even attached the "UCLA" stamp to their moniker.
Here is the anonymous "communique" that the North American Animal Liberation Press Office received from the extremists, apparently for distribution:
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"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"
And here's the one targeted at grad student Stephanie Groman:
"Stephanie Groman is a twenty nine year old primate vivisector at UCLA. During graduate school, she learned to do terrible stuff to primates,such as addicting them to street drugs; exactly what Groman is currently doing at UCLA under the supervision of primate vivisector low-lives such as Edythe London and David Jentsch. Since she wouldn't listen to more polite pleadings to stop her heinous treatment of innocent primates, we mailed to Stephanie at [xxxx] Midvale Avenue, Apartment [xxx] in Los Angeles some rusty razor blades tainted with AIDS-infected blood. The message is clear- PRIMATE VIVISECTION MUST BE STOPPED! --Justice Department"
At the end of the day, we can't help but wonder: What does AIDS have to do with anything? Just that it's the only other Earthly phenomenon evil enough to compare to scientists who pump PCP into vervet monkeys?