It is a little be surreal – with some countries banning animal testing, and major universities shrinking their animal research (like Harvard closing their primate labs) – that the University of Washington is actually planning to build a brand new expanded animal laboratory underground. Totally surreal. Although the UW is a publicly funded institution, they made the decision to approve lab without public input or even asking for any alternative information beyond the request of those doing animal research. When called to task, they did hold the vote publicly and allowed two members of the public to comment but no discussion. It is very weird that UW regents and president are not interested in having all of the information – just this month, the acting UW President admitted to a NARN Board member that she had never even toured the current laboratories, (which have been cited numerous times for animal mistreatment). If you were in charge of approving a $124 million dollar facility, wouldn’t you maybe want to know what is already being done? To see it with your own eyes? Of course the public is not allowed to see the labs. Ever.
OK, that might all seem boring and business as usual, but really, this is a good moment to remember that behind all of the stats and current political shenanigans there are actual, living, breathing, suffering, and dying animals without light, life, or hope. Thousands of primates, rats, cats, dogs, pigs, rabbits, fish, and other sentient beings fill the UW laboratories subject to experiment after experiment until death. The UW has an opportunity to become a leader in research alternatives, and instead is investing in archaic methods that bring out the worst in human-animal interactions. Our “use” (torture, dissection, and killing) of other living beings for our own curiosity or promised potential future benefit is so shameful that everyone wants it hidden and ignored, but few will stand against it.
But so bizarre is the UW’s decision to expand instead of phase out animal research, the world has turned our direction. Activists all over the States and the world are coming together to help pressure the UW and the global construction company committed to building the facility, Skanska. In Sweden activists demonstrated outside Skanksa’s annual shareholders meeting. Today activists in San Antonio will protest Skanska USA offices as well. April 7 and 8, 2015 hundreds of people from all over called UW leadership to share their thoughts and plead with them to reconsider. And of course, every week, Seattle activists have been holding office and home demos at both Skanska and the UW.
Now the biggest and most important event is on the horizon, a full March on the University of Washington April 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm. It is important that every person who cares about the future and our relationship with animals be there. Every person who shudders at the site of an animal in a research lab or can’t bare to see animals tortured or caged should be there. You don’t have to be an activist. You just have to know that action is the only thing that can possibly change the future. Even if you can’t get to the University of Washington, maybe you leave farther away, you can still help with calls, letters, and local demonstrations.
There are also many other ways to help. Check out the No New Animal Lab website and follow them on facebook for resources, updates, and invites to upcoming weekly demonstrations. If you’d like to learn more about the people and animals behind animal research and alternatives, here are some resources: Maximum Tolerated Dose (documentary), PCRM Research page, and historical UW Facilities Reports (acquired through FOIA by SAEN).
March on the UW
Saturday, April 25, 2015
2:00 PM at Red Square