Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Animal rights activists raise awareness
Group claims use of animals in experiments is unethical
By Eliza Hallabeck
Special to the RegisterThe “blood” on the “mouse” in the cage outside 300 George St. on Tuesday was actually red face paint, and her ears and nose were part of the costume worn in protest against animal testing.
Chelsea Rhodes, a member of the Yale Affiliated Animal Rights Network and the senior administrative assistant for the Sociology Department at Yale University, said the protest was planned for World Week for Animals in Laboratories, which began April 20.
“I figure an hour of sitting on concrete isn’t nearly what the animals have to go through,” Rhodes said from inside a rectangular wire cage.
In addition to her mouse ears and nose, Rhodes wore a fake prison uniform to signify YAARN’s feelings toward animals being used in laboratory experiments.
For one hour, three members of YAARN stood, or sat, on the corner of George and College streets as they passed out pamphlets and discussed animal testing with passersby.
Joseph Klett, a graduate student at Yale University’s Sociology Department, said the group’s aim was to raise awareness of the cruelties of animal testing.
He said the group wanted people to know that, “animals are being tested right next to their own homes, in their own neighborhoods.”
Klett said he launched YAARN in September when he started at Yale University. Rhodes said until then there were many groups, but there was no specific animal rights group with which people could connect.
Animal testing is being “perpetrated on people’s behalf and with their tax dollars,” said Justin Goodman, a research associate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Goodman alleged that Yale University practices animal testing in its laboratories.
Tom Conroy, a spokesman for Yale University, said in a prepared statement, “The use of animals in research at Yale is regulated federally by the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture.”
Published research from Yale shows mice and rats are used in laboratory experiments. In one case, the research published online said mice had holes cut into their heads so drugs could be administered directly to their brains.
The online publication was released in April 2007 by the Yale University School of Medicine. It was titled, “Cytisine, a partial agonist of high affinity nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, has antidepressant-like properties in male C57BL/6J mice.”
But Conroy, speaking on behalf of Yale, said that nearly all medical advances of the last century would have been impossible without animal research.
One of the New Haven residents who passed by the demonstrators on Tuesday shared the same opinion.
“Even in the bad there is good,” said Joel Vetsch, 28, “and we don’t always get to agree with it.”
“There’s this slippage in ethics, where we think, just because they aren’t human, they don’t matter,” Klett responded.
Eliza Hallabeck is a New Haven Register inter
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