This Sunday, activists plan on protesting at the Tony Awards, which are scheduled to take place at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s the odd chain of command that will be bringing the activists to Georgia: Coca Cola is a major sponsor of the television broadcast of the awards. Coca Cola is also a major contributor to endowments at Emory University. Emory University researcher Harriet Robinson recently announced yet another breakthrough in AIDS research. A vaccine she developed helped prevent a simian form of the disease from developing in laboratory animals for 18 months.
Of course it goes without saying that activists consider such medical advances to be intolerable, so they will be out in force to let the world know that Coca Cola supports animal suffering.
The press release announcing the protest can’t even manage to be truthful (surprise, surprise, surprise). The release claims that, “Earlier this year, Emory announced Harriet Robinson, PhD. had once again made progress in an AIDS vaccine. Emory, Yerkes, and Robinson failed to mention the vaccine worked only in monkeys against a laboratory developed disease and that humans are unlikely to ever be exposed to this laboratory disease.”
In fact the releases sent out by Emory clearly noted that the research subjects were monkeys and described in detail the differing survival rates for the primates in the control group versus the primates who were given the disease. Apparently the animal rights activists were the only ones who, typically, were unable to tell the difference between human beings and animals, as numerous news stories about the breakthrough mentioned that the research subjects were non-human primates and included the standard caveat that such results are not directly transferable to human beings.
On the other hand, it is irrelevant that SIV is not quite HIV. The two diseases are extremely similar in the way they attack the immune system and the knowledge that was gained from this breakthrough provides very important information about how to tackle HIV in human beings, regardless of whether or not Robinson’s approach translates directly to human beings (preliminary clinical trials designed to test a human equivalent of the vaccine for safety purposes will probably get underway in late 2001 or early 2002).
Atlanta animal activists to attend a live broadcast of Broadway’s Tony Awards. Jean Barnes, EmoryLies.Com, Press Release, June 1, 2001.