Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fighting the Good Fight in My Old Home State

Having grown up in Utah and lived there most of my life, I can vouch that states don't come much more conservative. So it was heartening to see the animal rights movement shaking things up in the old home state. Militants are targeting the University of Utah's various animal testing programs. And they're making a difference. The Davis County Animal Shelter, just north of Salt Lake City, is no longer sending animals to the U of U's research labs. Once upon a time, animal shelters provided the 150 to 200 dogs needed per year at the University of Utah. But new state laws have made it so these shelters no longer have to participate. (Source)

Kudos to the Davis County Animal Shelter for protecting its animals.

And then yesterday - in recognition of World Week for Animals in Laboratories - University of Utah students and local activists protested the treatment of animals in the university's laboratories. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) investigators detailed the abuses that occur on a regular basis inside the U of U's laboratories:
Thousands of animals are still suffering inside University of Utah laboratories. Dogs have their necks cut open and medical devices implanted inside. Cats, monkeys, and rats are forced to endure invasive experiments in which their skulls are cut open and electrodes are inserted into their brains, and mice are given enormous tumors and painful, deadly illnesses. PETA’s complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging multiple violation of animal protection laws is still under investigation. (Source)

I have a particularly strong interest in this latest wave of protests because the University of Utah is my alma mater. And I am thrilled to see students and animal rights activists there coming together to demand an end to the terrible treatment of animals at the university's labs.

A hundred years ago today, the great American author Mark Twain died. During his lifetime, Twain often made his compassion toward animals known in his writings. He felt especially strongly about animal testing. As he once wrote, "I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't.... The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further."

No doubt that if Mark Twain were still alive today, he would be cheering on the protests at the University of Utah.

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