UCLA Hails Judge’s Ruling That Backs Researchers Against ‘Animal Extremists’

WESTWOOD (CBS) — UCLA officials Saturday hailed a federal court judge decision to uphold a city ordinance banning animal rights protesters from getting close to professors’ homes.

The city ordinance bans political protests from within 100 feet of the homes of targeted individuals.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the research university termed the ordinance “critical to UCLA’s efforts to protect its researchers from an organized campaign of harassment by anti-animal research activists.”

In a ruling made Thursday, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz rejected a claim by four demonstrators, three of whom were arrested in 2010 for protesting near the home of a UCLA researcher who has used live animals for medical research.

Matz ruled that state courts have already rejected claims that the city ordinance unduly impacts free speech rights.

“This ruling affirms UCLA’s right to protect our researchers by enforcing existing municipal ordinances,” said Kevin Reed, UCLA’s vice chancellor for legal affairs.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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