I do not have good news for you. Animal experimentation is increasing.
Why do I say that animal experimentation is increasing? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds more animal experiments than any other government agency. The number of grants (involving animal use) funded by the NIH increased 12% from 2001 2002.
12% is a dry statistic. It cannot convey suffering and death.
Animal experiments vary. A single experiment can involve anywhere from 1 to hundreds, or even thousands of animals. During 2002 the NIH funded almost 3600 more grants that used animals than in 2001.
Each one of these grants caused suffering in animals. Common occurrences during animal experiments include: electric shock, the confinement of primates to restraint chairs for periods of up to 104 hours, deprivation of food or water, and the placement of electrodes into the brain. Animals are subjected to addictive drugs, chemical weapons, radiation, caustic chemicals, and too many other horrendous abuses to even mention.
As horrible as that last paragraph sounded it cannot even begin to convey the suffering, the agony, the misery that these innocent animals suffer. We will never be able to understand any of this because most of us have never seen it, and we have certainly never experienced it.
But I have seen this. I have seen animal experiments. I have heard the scream of a rabbit as he/she died of a broken back. I have seen hopelessness in the eyes of primates confined in too small cages. I have seen playful young cats oblivious of their destiny in a laboratory. And I have seen empty dog runs that had contained friendly canines only a few hours earlier.
We all have a choice. We can turn away from these painful pictures -- leaving the animals to suffer and die, or we can choose to fight. We can choose to make a difference.
It is all too easy to walk away. Our lives move at a pace which tends to sweep us forward without our consent. Our busy schedules make it far too easy to forget the unseen suffering of innocent animals in laboratories.
But we must not forget the rabbits who scream, the monkeys who pace endlessly, and the dogs & cats who die in laboratories every day. We must not forget because we, you and I, are responsible for their suffering.
Yes, we are responsible. We are to blame. Our tax dollars are used to pay for these brutal experiments. Over $23 million of our tax dollars are spent on NIH-funded animal experiments every day.
We must stop this atrocity. We must end the slaughter. It is up to us. No one will do it for us.
But how? What can we do that will really make a difference?
First, we must decide to take a stance. We must realize that it is our responsibility -- our duty -- to fight for the animals.
Second, we must realize that we can be much more effective if we work together. One activist is easy to ignore, but hundreds or even thousands of us cannot be ignored. Together we can bring down the edifice that imprisons, tortures and kills millions of animals every year.
Third, we must agree to take decisive action, and take it soon. But we must also allow sufficient time to bring our efforts together in the most effective fashion.
Therefore, I would like to ask you to immediately begin to organize events for World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week 2003, April 19th 27th. Whether you want to organize a protest, a news conference, or simple tabling, the key to the effectiveness of your event is planning. So start now.
The first step in participating in this important event is to sign up. The online sign-up sheet can be found at: http://www.all-creatures.org/wlalw/events-signup.html Please let us know as soon as possible that you will be participating. We will be assembling an online list of participating organizations to enable individual activists to find events in their area. The sooner we hear from your organization, the sooner your group will be posted.
You will be able to find other assistance for this event on this website, including reproducible fact sheets and photos that can be used in the preparation of your own materials. The website also contains educational articles which contain important information about animal experimentation. The Resources section of the website contains links to other websites which can be used to find the truth about laboratories in your area.
Our main website www.saenonline.org also contains many useful resources, including information on using the Federal Freedom of Information Act and similar state laws for the purpose of investigating laboratories. The Press Releases section of this website contains examples of press releases which have been successful in obtaining media attention, as well as contact information for an activist who will write and disseminate press releases for grassroots organizations.
Please begin to plan your WLALW 2003 events now so that they can be as effective as possible. The bottom line is that the millions of animals that suffer and die in U.S. laboratories every year are depending on us to fight for them. They have no other voice, no other advocate. If we do not speak up for them the suffering will only increase. If we do not fight for them the death toll will spiral upward endlessly.
If you think you are too busy remember the macaque monkeys who are sitting in restraint chairs right now. If you think you cant speak up remember the rabbits who have caustic chemicals in their eyes right now. If you want to forget these unpleasant issues remember the dogs and cats who are dying at this very moment. If we turn away, if we do not act, then we are just as responsible as those who actually perform the experiments.
Please go to our websites: www.wlalw.org and www.saenonline.org and start planning your World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week events now. If I can be of any help, do not hesitate to contact me personally. I will be happy to help you locate a target for your local group to focus on, or point you towards an organization that can support your work more fully.
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN