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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Sitting in Cages, Students Protest Testing

Sitting in Cages, Students Protest Testing
Senior Staff Writer
Pitt News
October 30, 2003

"There's no stimulation in here," said Daniel Moyer, sitting cross-legged inside a cramped chicken-wire enclosure. "It makes you want to hit the cage."

Moyer, along with other members of Voices for Animal Liberation, was demonstrating against animal testing on Pitt's campus, in observation of National Primate Liberation Week. Sitting outside the William Pitt Union, the group displayed literature advocating animal rights and pictures of monkeys in restraining devices, while collecting signatures for various petitions and conversing with skeptical and sympathetic passersby.

Candice Zawoiski, a graduate student, said the makeshift cage confining Moyer was a rough estimation of the sorts of enclosures used to house primates on Pitt's campus, conditions which cramp the animals' bodies as well as their emotionally and psychologically complex nature.

"We wouldn't do this to human babies, and many primates have the emotional and psychological capacity of a five-year-old child," she said. "Animals are sentient beings who feel pain, especially primates."

"You can look at the results of the studies to see that [animal testing] isn't even effective," added the caged Moyer.

Zawoiski added that she hadn't seen Pitt's labs, but that is only because the research departments do not take kindly to visitors.

"Pitt's animal research is secretive," she said, "but we know from USDA reports that there are shady things going on."

The reports, which document inspections conducted between Sept. 3, 2002 and March 12 2003, cite numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at Pitt's research facilities, including the presence of outdated drugs, inappropriate procedures involving the animals and unsanitary conditions in labs. The report also indicates that some of the violations, as of March 13, remained uncorrected.

Despite infringements, animal testing at Pitt - and at other universities and research centers - continues to receive funding. Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health granted almost $6.4 million to the Pittsburgh Development Center to aid its continuing research on cloning non-human primates.

While it is unclear whether or not the PDC is connected to the labs cited in the USDA report, Zawoiski indicated that such coincidences are characteristic of the industry.

"[Animal testing] is a billion-dollar industry," she said, adding that capital often overrides ethics.

"Students should know their tuition dollars are going towards this research," she said.

The group said the demonstration had received a positive response from members of the community who stopped by to inquire about the caged humans. They successfully collected signatures for their petition to raise funds for a primate sanctuary after testing, all the while alternating cage duty and offering brownies and pins to those interested.

There was no set time limit on how long each member stayed in the cage, and Moyer planned to stay in until he had to go to class.

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