World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week

World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week is the week that surrounds April 24th every year - It's a national week of protests, media events, etc. at laboratories to stop testing and research on animals

Media Coverage - 2004

Animal-Rights Activists Capture Park
by Matthew Dolbey, Campus Editor, Badger Herald

April 30, 2004

Students and area residents settled into Lisa Link Peace Park Thursday and Friday, protesting the use of animals in scientific research at the University of Wisconsin.

During the event, which coincides with World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week, activists advocated to passersby, with one demonstrator sitting in a cage slightly larger than a mini-fridge.

Student organization Madison Coalition for Animal Rights and community group Alliance for Animals displayed posters of a primate in a seemingly painful device. They also showed videos of animals undergoing surgery for research.

“Nobody’s said it's offensive,” Alliance member Lori Nitzel said of the consistently graphic and bloody images on the screen. “One person (a medical student) has been opposed to what we’re doing. That’s all.”

Nitzel said State Street passersby were more offended by UW activity than the graphic display of the animals.

Helping people realize that animal research occurs at UW is the main focus of the display, according to Nitzel.

“We’re hoping to get people thinking about these issues,” Nitzel said.

Nitzel wants to make the community aware of animal treatment, especially at Madison, because the university has a “pretty miserable track record” in humane animal treatment, she said.

“UW is known for its [animal research in] good and bad ways,” she added.

She pointed to a study compiled by Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, a nonprofit watchdog group specializing in animal research, who said UW has broken the law relating to veterinary care of animals, among other things.

Budkie said no matter how few violations any research institution commits, he is yet to find a “humane” or “effective” use of animal testing.

“This is no longer about science, this is about money,” Budkie said, adding that this is an issue taxpayers should be aware of because of the $10 billion used yearly for the research.

Budkie said animal experimentation does not benefit human medicine.

“There is no such thing as beneficial animal experimentation," he said.

Rick Lane, associate director of UW’s Research Animal Resources Center, disagreed with the activists’ views, saying that no matter how much evidence is presented, animal protestors will never concur with research investigators.

Lane also defended UW’s animal-keeping policies, pointing to accreditation requirements by both public and private authorities that mandate humane treatment and facilities.

“If you get that type of accreditation in the animal-research area, it’s kind of like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” Lane said.

Some research conducted on campus is on the “cutting edge” not only to human interests like HIV but also to improving the lives of domestic animals," he said.

Lane pointed to ongoing research studying cancer in cats and dogs as an example.

“This also gives a tremendous teaching opportunity for undergraduate to post-doctoral candidates [to conduct research] that they can [use later in their career],” Lane said, adding that he is “proud to be associated” with UW’s research.

Advocates asked students to fill out cards to send to UW Chancellor John Wiley stating their opposition to animal testing at UW, claiming it is “unacceptable” and “redundant.”

UW special student Stacy Taeuber, who wants to study primates in the wild, said non-invasive research in an animal’s natural habitat might be more effective.

“I think [lab research] is totally unnecessary…the usefulness for animal experimentation [expired] many years ago," she said.

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