I have this friend. She used to be a scientist, but changed fields, earning a Ph.D. in philosophy. She now studies and teaches the ethics of the practice of science. I'm sure most of my readers understand how important this is. Without transparent, thoughtful, and informed discussions of ethics, the practice of science and medicine would be a disaster. The past has seen many egregious practices, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Nazi medical experimentation, and the historical abuse of the poor and minorities by science, but ethical dilemmas and disasters are not a detail of history. Many of the historical abuses in the name of science and medicine, for example experimentation on prisoners and the mentally ill, were normative at the time. This doesn't make them right, but it provides context, and reminds us that some of our current normative practices may later be judged wanting.
Ethicists don't simply sit around a conference table discussing useless theory (although I'm sure they do from time to time). They help develop policies and solve problems. Ethical questions arise as a natural course of my work as a physician, and being able to consult experts not only helps me, but helps my patients.
We don't think a 'forum' will dissuade ANY vivisector from continuing to torture animals, since they are making so much MONEY from doing so. But UCLA Bruins for Animals seems to think a "discussion" will help these poor, abused, imprisoned animals and we guess it takes every spoke in the wheel for change to occur.
If the nonhumans could fight back, their tormentors would have expired long ago. We have an obligation to expose the abusers. It is the LEAST we can do!
The hypocrisy of these groups is infinite. To change the way our society views animal research, you have to actually convince society that your position has merit. You can't (morally) force it on anyone through threats and violence. The animal rights crowd knows this, and they know that they are nowhere near convincing a significant number of people. Since they have failed at dialog and debate, they have switched to terrorism, and targeting researches isn't enough for them---now they are targeting children.
As the pictures indicate, neighbors came out from many of the near-by houses, took leaflets and talked to activists about how much they hate their neighbor Dario for doing "hellish primate experimentation." One, in fact, gave an activist the name of the school one of his offspring attends! Activists plan on legally leafleting the school in order to educate fellow students what their classmate's father does for a living.
A couple of details are worth noting here. Terrorists and others who encourage violence and murder often dehumanize their victims. In this plea to harass a scientist's kids, they refer to Dr. Ringach as "a mobster for some drug cartel, (although mobsters don't commit nearly the gruesome, hideous things to innocent beings as Dario does to primates on a regular basis.)" After re-branding a human being as a gruesome criminal who harms "primates", the terrorists refuse to refer to his kids as "children" instead labeling them "offspring". Reading it, you get the distinct feeling that his children will next be referred to a "vermin".