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News :: Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Anti-Vivisection Activists Had A Busy Month
02 May 2005
Anti-vivisection activists in Massachusetts have recently been participating in "World Week for Animals in Laboratories" and "World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week."
April 30, 2005

On Saturday, April 16 and Saturday, April 30 members of animal rights groups such as The Animal Defense League of Boston (ADL), The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) and Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) marched, rallied, chanted and otherwise expressed their disdain for the animal experimentation that happens with help from their tax dollars in their own home state.

viv·i·sec·tion - n. -The act or practice of cutting into or otherwise injuring living animals, especially for the purpose of scientific research. [from]

Harvard Medical School's "New England Regional Primate Research Center" or NERPRC was the focus of these protests although many universities and private companies in Massachusetts experiment on animals, including M.I.T., Tufts University, and Charles River Laboratories.

The NERPRC is located in Southborough, Massachusetts in a wooded area on a secluded road far away from travelled roads and the general public. It is surrounded by much land and many trees decorated with "No Trespassing" signs. Security cameras, gates and yellow lines on the ground marking the property keep unwelcome guests from approaching the building where primates are experimented on. This was the location of the protest on Saturday, April 30 where protestors brought attention to the fact that there are primates being tested on nearby. When a member of The Animal Defense League of Boston shouted to a passing jogger, "Did you know they test on primates in there?" he responded "Yeah, it's creepy." When a woman driving by spotted the activists' signs she stopped abruptly and backed up to ask questions because she and her children had heard rumors of animal research happening up the hill, but had trouble finding out information to confirm that it was true. She showed concern and accepted brochures from the activists stating that she was going to look into the issue and communicate with her friends and neighbors who she mentioned were also concerned.

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On Saturday, April 16, a group of thirty anti-vivisection activists from ADL and MARC gathered at M.I.T.'s Rogers Building at 77 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. They marched up Massachusetts Avenue, accompanied by seven Cambridge police escorts on bicycles. Holding banners and signs and chanting slogans like "Vivisection is a lie, how many animals have to die?" and "One Struggle, One Fight, Human Freedom, Animal Rights!" the long line of people was witnessed by hundreds of Cambridge residents and others passing by. They marched through Central Square, past Cambridge City Hall and then 40-50 activists rallied for hours at Johnson Gate in front of Harvard University, across from the Harvard Square subway station, a short distance from William James Hall where animal research takes place.

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A recent article in the online version of The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University's daily newspaper, quotes Harvard College Professor Marc D. Hauser (who's laboratory is in William James Hall) as stating, "We are very open about what we do in the lab, which is non-invasive behavioral work. Our website makes clear what we do and where we are and so there are no secrets." []

Helen Rayshick of MARC wrote by email, "We know that researchers at the William James Halls labs are using animals in invasive experiments. For example, recently Dr. Ken Nakayama implanted coils in the eyes of macaque monkeys and implanted headposts into their brains. He then restricted fluids and used the animals' need for water to get them to comply and perform. Nakayama also used primate chairs for these experiments, and the animals' heads were fixed in place. He also performed craniotomies, penetrated through the dura mater with electrodes, and affixed recording chambers to the animals' skulls. For more information see:;

Mrs. Rayshick adds "We consider this to be egregiously cruel, especially when done to our closest genetic relatives, the primates."

Boston Indymedia spoke with Stephanie of the ADL. "We are here to let Harvard know that there are many people who are concerned with their treatment of animals in labs, paid for by our taxes! Tests are being done over and over again, non-human primates are addicted to heroin and cocaine, the mortality rate of infant primates is 55% because of forced abortions and diseases. It's gone on far too long, and Harvard needs to shut their vivisection labs down, and lead us in medical advancements without the use of animals."

Steve Rayshick of MARC stated, "We feel the benefits of animal experimentation are greatly exaggerated by the multi-billion dollar industry that profits from it. The actual use of animals is increasing even though there are multiple alternatives to replace animal research. It is brutal, and often times pointless. Dr. Leo Pine, a microbiologist at The National Institutes of Health and Center for Disease Control, started his career as a vivisector, quit, and is responsible for a number of key developments in science, such as ways to culture bacteria. Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic is also opposed to animal research."

Another protester, Robyn Flynn, who is confined to a wheelchair after a car accident stated emotionally, "If someone told me that by testing on animals I would walk again, I would tell them not to bother."

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April was a busy month for Massachusetts animal rights activists, in addition to fighting for animals in laboratories they fought for animals in circuses as well as ducks and geese who are force-fed to produce foie gras. On Saturday, April 30, MARC members were providing leaflets at Boston's Harch Shell event "Earthfest" to educate environmentalists about the connection between meat-eating and the devastation of the earth. On Sunday, May 1, ADL members will be pointing out the connection between the worker's rights movement and the animal rights movement at the May Day Rally in Copley Square, Boston. Working in a slaughterhouse is considered an extremely dangerous job, possibly the most dangerous in America, and a majority of slaughterhouse workers are undocumented immigrants who are severely exploited in these jobs.

"All social change agendas are rooted with the parallel goal of liberation and equality, and it's amazing to see these struggles tied together right here in Boston," said Stephanie of the ADL, "The only way to progress is to join forces with your local allies, keep the pressure on, and get involved."


9 minute audio documentary with related story by Homefries:

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Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition

Animal Defense League, Boston Chapter

Stop Animal Exploitation Now!

"A Critical Look at Animal Experimentation" Website

Harvard Medical School's New England Regional Primate Research Center

Harvard University's Primate Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory

World Week for Animals in Laboratories Website

World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week Website

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See also:

This work is in the public domain