PETA Protests at Civil Rights Speech

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested outside a speech given by Columbia University president Lee Bollinger to honor the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka that found segregation in schools unconstitutional.

PETA activists have been protesting Bollinger’s public appearance since October in an effort to get Columbia to drop primate research at the university. PETA’s Alka Chandna connected animal rights with civil rights, telling The Memphis Flyer (emphasis added),

There are terrible things happening to the primates at Columbia. In one experiment, a researcher cuts out the left eyes of baboons and then induces a stroke by inserting a clamp into the eye socket, closing three critical arteries . . . We understand from a veterinarian who was working at Columbia that the animals were not given sufficient pain relief during or after the experiments.

Lee Bollinger has an excellent track record as far as civil rights are concerned, but we’d like him to also see that primates are complex and intelligent being with a social structure similar to our own. They shouldn’t be deprived of basic rights either. That a person of his caliber cannot understand that is shocking to us.

Perhaps if Chandna and other PETA activists were of the same caliber as Bollinger, they might understand.


Fighting for their rights. Bianca Phillips, Memphis Flyer, February 12, 2004.

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