KVOA 4 in Tucson ran a report on April 20 about animal rights activists protesting at the University of Arizona College of Medicine as part of World Week for Animals in Laboratories.
The TV station’s web site summary of the story reports this exchange about the role of animals in medical research. Dr. Susan Wilson-Sanders, director of University Animal Care, told KVOA that animal research had made important contributions to treating diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease and that,
Well, in my opinion and the opinions of the vast majority of Americans a human life would be more important.
To which animal rights activist Roberta Wright retorted that,
The only reason somebody could be that ignorant is because they don’t know much about the unique aspects of various animals whether they be birds, mice, rats, monkeys or what have you . . . they . . . none of them belong in laboratories.
Well, Wright should certainly know about ignorance as she’s been peddling this same argument for three decades, and since 1990 with her group Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom.
Wright is the author of a short essay, “A Tribute to Lab Animals,” which is written as if Wright were a laboratory animal,
Have you ever been in a laboratory where animals are warehoused before being subjected to experimentation? There’s nothing quite like the sights, smells, and sounds of such an environment. The animals seem to gaze out from behind their metal bars, pleading to be touched, or at least talked to. My emotions have always behaved predictably when I’ve toured a laboratory. Putting myself in the animal’s place, I visualize myself behind those bars, uncomprehending as to why I’m there. I, too, would look expectantly to anyone who came in and looked as though he or she were going to give me some attention. If I got none, I’d wonder why, and my feeling of grateful anticipation would turn to despair when the door once again closed behind the visitor. Until the next time. When I’d go through the same thing all over again. Of course I couldn’t know that there were worse things about to happen to me than merely being ignored.
In fact, that’s the good news. The bad news is the research protocol with my number on it eventually surfaces and I am led away to new sights and new sounds. I’m excited about this walk I’m now taking. After all, I seem to be the center of attention and isn’t that what I’ve been wanting ever since I was uprooted and brought to this cold, sterile place? . . .
. . .
I and many like me are whisked quickly from the room. I recognize cool night air when it hits me. I am going home! I am going to a place of safety! I lie quietly, not wanting to disturb what is happening for fear my rescuers will change their minds and put me back into that awful prison. There’s talk of “being caught.” The people who have liberated me from this agony and gloom are breaking the law! Law? What law? What law condones and protects the people who torture and maim those who can’t object? If human beings could change places with us for only one hour, would they be so ambivalent, so indifferent? Surely if they looked into my pleading eyes, they would be capable of seeing and feeling my pain and suffering. Then they wouldn’t continue to ignore my plight.
Deep in the bowels of the institution where you now stand are more than 7,000 animals that the people who work here call “inventory.” We are every imaginable animal, amphibian, and even cattle. They do every imaginable thing to us and call it “science” and “research.” When the researchers leave at night, they hang up their bloody lab coats and brag about their “discoveries” with no thought of our suffering. We are powerless to do anything about our imprisonment. We have only you to speak for us. We beg of you. Please speak loudly, persistently, and GET US OUT OF HERE. All we have to look forward to day after day are cold bars and painful procedures. Liberation is a faint dream that seems will come only with death. Our suffering and confinement are indescribable.
When you leave here tonight, think about us. We will be lying terrified in stainless steel cages, it will be cold, and we will hear only the hum of the refrigeration unit. And tomorrow will bring more anxiety, terror and pain. Think about us. Or at the very least, please do not forget that we are here!
During a protest of a new primate research laboratory at the University of Arizona, Wright claimed that the only reason animal research continues is to allow researchers to earn advanced degrees in the sciences,
This is not about human health or curing diseases, it’s about getting Ph.D.s
And, like many activists, Wright is a supporter of animal rights violence. In April 2001, her group sponsored terrorism advocate Craig Rosebraugh to speak at the University of Arizona during World Week for Animals in Laboratories. In a press release about the event, Wright said,
Both of these men [Rosebraugh and Michael Budkie] are guaranteed to stimulate conversation and thought about why animals are used in vivisection and why they are targets of the ALF. Get used to it. Until the university opens its doors to
scrutiny, there will be an ALF to knock them down and free the animals imprisoned inside.
Illegal Break-Ins And Animal
Experiments Focus Of Speakers On U Of A Mall Wednesday. Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom, Press Release, April 23, 2001.
A Tribute to Lab Animals. Roberta Wright, Undated, Accessed: May 3, 2004.
Is it all in the name of science or is animal abuse?. KVOA 4, April 20, 2004.
Primate research will continue, officials say. Blake Smith, Arizona Daily Wildcat, May 3, 2000.