On October 23, 2004, the Society for Neuroscience
gathered for its annual convention in San Diego. Assemblies of
scientists such as this typically result in positive media coverage
which extols the value of animal research. The public is often spoon fed
a line of pseudo-scientific propaganda that belies the truly horrific
nature of animal experimentation.
This is especially true for neuroscience experiments.
Many of the most heinous experiments are published in the Society’s
magazine – the Journal of Neuroscience. Horrific experiments which
torture animals are carried out on species from rats to primates.
Intelligent primates are confined to restraint chairs,
with electrodes implanted in their brains. Then they are deprived of
water to coerce them into participating in these frankensteinian
“Clearly, this kind of brutality could not go
unopposed,” said SAEN’s Executive Director, Michael A. Budkie. “Someone
must be a voice for these innocent animals.” He traveled to San Diego to
be a voice for these innocent victims and to work with local activists
from San Diego Animal Advocates (SDAA). Through protests and news
conferences, the truth about the barbaric and unscientific nature of
vivisection was revealed.
A news conference on October 25th garnered substantial
coverage on the local National Public Radio station for San Diego (KPBS):
“Spokesman Michael Budkie says neuroscience research
is especially rough on primates. He says some of the practices are
barbaric. Rhesus monkeys are confined to restraint chairs. Recording
cylinders are literally bolted into their skulls, electrodes are fed
into their brain.”
At one point Michael Budkie and local activist Jane
Cartmill had the opportunity to go inside the convention to get a feel
for the event. “The exhibit hall was shocking. We saw row after row of
companies that provided the equipment used to torture animals. It is
perfectly clear that animal experimentation is BIG BUSINESS,” said
The protest at the convention met with substantial
opposition – primarily from the Harbor Police of San Diego. Local
activists were threatened with arrest for doing nothing more than
attempting to hold picket signs and distribute fact sheets. They were
then escorted to a “Free Speech Area” which was clearly designed to
silence protesters. The zone was located hundreds of feet away from the
flow of pedestrian traffic.
As the conference concluded, local activists learned
that an even larger conference of animal experimenters is headed for
their city. From March 31 to April 5 of 2005 the 35th Congress of the
International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) will meet at the
downtown Convention Center in San Diego. This massive summit of animal
researchers includes six member organizations—the American Physiological
Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the Microcirculatory Society, the
Society of General Physiologists, the Biomedical Engineering Society,
and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology—many of which
contribute to the suffering of millions of animals each year in U.S.
Again, SAEN and SDAA will be present to be a voice for
the voiceless. “We will not be silenced,” said Budkie. “We may have to
risk arrest, but we will be heard.”
We want to thank the members of SDAA for all of their
hard work and dedication.
Please check the website of San Diego Animal
Advocates for details of this upcoming protest: