"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
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
"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presence of outdated drugs, inappropriate procedures involving the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
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