Bruce Friedrich, head of Vegan Outreach for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, visited UR Tuesday. The welcome Friedrich received, however, from many at UR was one of censorship and fear.On Tuesday night Friedrich spoke to a crowd of fifty-plus people. The event, however, would never have taken place if some UR faculty members from both the College and the Medical Center had their way.Beginning last week, a number of URMC and College faculty members sent e-mails to Warner questioning the school’s decision to invite Friedrich.URMC faculty members told Warner they were worried about Friedrich’s support for the destruction of animal laboratories. Because URMC contains a number of such labs, faculty members did not want notice brought to the cruel and frivolous experiments carried out within URMC.In what seemed to be compliance with faculty pressure, UR Security assigned officers to follow Friedrich around during his time on campus Tuesday.Assistant Director of Security Edward Scheidel said officers were trailing Friedrich to make sure there was “no disruption.”According to Friedrich he has never received a threat of bodily harm or death for his work with PETA, never been convicted of a crime or even arrested for any violent act, and he said he has never before had security officers shadow him. So obviously Security wasn’t there to ensure Friedrich’s safety.It seems that the ignorance and unfounded fears of UR faculty members influenced Security in its misuse of officers Tuesday night. Meanwhile, in what are the real crimes, vivisectors at the URMC continue to torture and kill animals and to waste money in ridiculous displays of mindless routine and scientific ineptitude.There is an insistence among American colleges on following in the footsteps of predecessors to get research published and to do that research as it has always been done. This is especially true in the case of continued animal experimentation.This lazy, unimaginative manner of research has resulted in the rates of death for the largest American diseases staying steady or rising over the last 30 years.In one such frivolous experiment at URMC, the hearts of rabbits are used to study heart disease in humans, the single largest killer among Americans. Heart disease, however, has been repeatedly linked to one’s diet. The URMC should step out of the dark ages of health research and when a minority voice comes to this school, we should not censor that voice, silence it, or needlessly vilify the speaker.Merkley can be reached at

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