The death of millions of animals in our nation’s
laboratories is a tragedy the likes of which most people never
understand. Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend death on such a large
scale. Death, even on the smallest scale is often sudden, shocking, and
immensely saddening. It is hard to conceptualize the death of over 20
million animals within a single year. But, when death comes knocking at
your own door, it is a much more personal experience.
On February 11, 2005, Damian, one of my best friends,
passed away from acute kidney failure. Damian was a 12 pound black cat
with long hair and intense yellow eyes. He loved to watch the fire or
sit on my lap purring softly. He often spoke to me as he walked through
our home, though I could not truly understand him. His death was an
unexpected tragedy that has left a large void in the life of my family.
This issue of The Defender is dedicated to Damian.
Damian is not alone – his death is repeated
unendingly. In 2002 over 24,000 cats died in U.S. labs. These cats had
no friend, no comforting hand, possibly not even adequate veterinary
care. In 2002 over 68,000 dogs died in U.S. labs. Do you share your home
with a cat or dog? Is he/she different in any real way from the
thousands that suffer and die every day in laboratories? The litany of
suffering and death goes on almost without end from day to day and from
species to species. Little stands in the way of this tidal wave of
mortality -- except you and I. It is up to us to fight for these
This issue of The Defender will get you current on our
common battle. Updates are included on: National Primate Liberation Week
2004 and our work to target a Convention of Cruelty of ‘scientists’,
many of whom abuse animals in cruel experiments. Exposing Cruelty and
Waste in California reveals our successes in exposing the truth about
two horrendous labs in San Francisco and Davis, California.
World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week 2005 discusses
how we will work with local activists across the country to raise
awareness about the millions of dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, mice,
guinea pigs, rats, and other animals that suffer and die in our nation’s
labs every year. Please see how you can get involved.
Animal experimentation is regulated by the Animal
Welfare Act (AWA). But laws are only as good as the people enforcing
them. While we have always suspected that enforcement of the AWA by the
USDA was spotty at best, our recent conversations with several current
and past USDA inspectors reveal the truth in: The Betrayal of Animal
Protection – the Corruption of the USDA.
As we go through our days of work for the animals, it
is easy to feel overwhelmed. We oppose huge government agencies, large
laboratories, and well-heeled corporations. Our opponents are fueled by
vested interest and self-preservation. Some might think our task
immense, the odds daunting, and the likelihood of success small. But no
revolution ever appeared likely. Over the years change has taken place
because a few individuals steadfastly refused to give up in spite of
overwhelming odds. Whether it be American Independence, Civil Rights,
Women’s Liberation, or any other worthwhile cause, progress has come
because people – just like you and I – demanded it. We must do no less
for the animals. Their suffering will allow no less. Their unmourned
deaths require us to act.
As this installment of The Defender is going to press,
we’re launching investigations into the University of Iowa and the New
Iberia Research Center (NIRC -- Louisiana) which imprisons over 6000
primates including chimpanzees. The animals of these and hundreds of
other research facilities face imminent death. They have no comforting
hand, no pleasant voice. They are denied food, water, and even sunlight.
They know only the needle, the scalpel, and the cold hard cage.
Damian is gone, never to return. But his compatriots
are in prison. His relatives are dying. He, they, are asking for our
help. We cannot, MUST not deny them for they have nowhere else to turn.
As we look forward to major events like World
Laboratory Animal Liberation Week 2005 and major protests in San Diego,
at the National Institutes of Health, and at the USDA, we are constantly
faced with a single question: ‘What can we afford to do?’ Often, the
only factor that decides if we take on another lab like NIRC, or if we
continue our battle against a major abuser of primates like UC, Davis is
money. Can we afford it? You have the power to answer that question.
I cannot turn down Damian’s relatives. I cannot
disregard 24,000 suffering cats. I cannot turn down the 4000 primates at
UC Davis that cry out for my help. I cannot turn down the activists in
Iowa that urgently require our assistance. I cannot ignore the 6000
primates incarcerated at NIRC. Can YOU?
I am grateful for your previous gifts which allowed us
to come so far in our fight for the freedom of the animals that are
victimized in U.S. labs. Please give generously so that we may continue
our fight. Your donation of $25, $50, or $100 will help us to fight for
the 24,000 cats that are imprisoned and suffering right now. Larger
gifts of $250, $500, or $1000 will help us take on new campaigns like
NIRC. Thank you in advance for your donation.