More than two months after Yale labs were cited for animal safety violations, protesters gathered to publicize the alleged abuses further.
Carrying signs that read “End Ivy League Animal Abuse” and “Yale Tortures Animals,” 12 Connecticut residents stood at the busy intersection of North Frontage Road and College Street on Wednesday afternoon. Demonstrators said they think Yale researchers are violating the Animal Welfare Act.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service cited Yale in May for animal mistreatment, issuing a report that mentioned a baboon with electrical burns and hamsters dead from an infectious disease trial, among other concerns, the New Haven Register reported at the time. Yale was also written up for safety and sanitation violations in 2008 and 2009. Though a USDA spokesman said in June that Yale had corrected the problems mentioned in the report, Wednesday’s protesters said they are not convinced.
The protest was organized by Ian Smith, a full-time researcher for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and a member of the Connecticut Animal Rights Network. Smith said he hoped to open New Haven residents’ eyes to what he said is unethical testing taking place in their own backyards.
The University prepared for the protest by releasing a statement Wednesday morning, saying that all of Yale’s laboratories meet or exceed the standards set by federal regulations.
“Yale believes the humane use of animals in research is more than justified by the benefits it yields to humankind,” the statement adds. “Virtually all medical advances of the last century would have been impossible without animal research.”
But Roz Downing, a history teacher at East Lyme High School, said she thinks it is unfair for Yale to value human rights above animals rights. She added that many lab tests do not directly benefit humans, and called for more transparency concerning lab trials and their medical purposes.
“The animal trade is about money,” she said. “These tests are harmful to animals for no reason at all.”
Correction: July 16, 2010
An earlier version of this article misstated the consequences of Yale’s animal safety violations two months ago. The University’s labs were cited, but not fined.