Britches and the Great Imagining

Britches and the Great Imagining

by Roxanne Galvan          As we approach World Week for Animals in Laboratories, I want us to take a few moments to remember the tragic story of Britches. In 1985, a baby macaque monkey was born in a laboratory at the University of Riverside. Shortly after, he was stripped from his mother’s care and subjected to unimaginable cruelty under the guise of ‘scientific research’. Some would prefer to call it for what it truly is: torture. Britches was forced to be the subject of a study surrounding human blindness. His fresh, tiny eyes were sewn shut with oversized sutures, such that he suffered permanent corneal damage once they were removed by his liberators. A sonar device that emitted piercing sounds was strapped to his head. The baby macaque was left alone in a small metal cage where he spent the fir st 5 weeks of his life terrified and devoid of any compassion or solace. The story of Britches has a happy ending where anonymous ALF activists, with the help of sympathetic workers within the laboratory, rescue him along with somewhere between 400-700 other animals. Dressed in white lab coats and black balaclavas, they conducted a live liberation, filming and exposing the horror lab. For Britches, we get a sigh of relief knowing he was saved from solitary confinement and spent the rest of his years in a sanctuary with an elder macaque foster mom. For the countless other animals who have died and are awaiting premature death in labs, we cannot feel that relief. Vivisection is a topic that makes almost anyone uncomfortable as they...
Year of Discord and Unity and Two Beautiful Babies Who Never Got to See 2017

Year of Discord and Unity and Two Beautiful Babies Who Never Got to See 2017

by Cory Mac a’Ghobhainn I couldn’t get the words out. I stood there, and every time I tried to form the sentence, I chocked. Those around me, listening and waiting, grew sad and quiet. They guessed what was coming, what I was trying to say. I was in a class that Art for Animals Sake offers as part of an enrichment program at Skid Row Housing Trust, an organization which “provides permanent supportive housing so that people who have experienced homelessness, prolonged extreme poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental illness and/or addiction can lead safe, stable lives in wellness.” Every week we give residents an opportunity to discuss their own experiences living in a world shared by other animals, to talk about some of the challenges we all – other species included – face in the modern world and, at the same time, to create art that reflects these connections. On this day, I was holding up a recent photo and telling the story of a little calf a mere few days old. Finally I was able to say it, “He’s dead now.” Brutal words with a bottomless amount of suffering behind them. It started on a beautiful day in November: the sun was out, and I was at an animal sanctuary in Lake Elsinore where the furred and feathered residents were reveling in cool crisp weather after a brutal summer in the parched landscape of inland SoCal. All I could think of was, “No more triple-digit temps!” The chickens were happily sand bathing, the pigs were rooting in the dirt of their yard, Rocko the llama was surveying the perimeter...
April Fool: Slapping Down the SLAPP

April Fool: Slapping Down the SLAPP

On April Fool’s Day morning in 2014, Progress for Science activists made our way to a Westwood neighborhood near UCLA in order to stand outside holding signs and handing out leaflets to a few passersby, mostly parents and nannies walking their little ones to a nearby school. We were there to show our opposition to the cruel, useless experiments being done on animals and to educate folks about the type of research that their neighbor, a UCLA vivisector, is doing with our tax money. The person we were spreading the message about was Edythe London, a professor who has for decades been carrying out forced addictions on rats and monkeys, studying the effects of substances of abuse such as drugs and tobacco on their brain functions. In one study, which wound up being an embarrassment for UCLA, London was unethically funded by the tobacco giant Phillip Morris. These activities have long made London a lightning rod for protesters in the LA area. With its formation in 2012, P4S has taken over most of the on-the-ground Edythe London campaign, using legal protest strategies such as candlelight vigils, outreach and petition drives and non-targeted picketing to maintain a public spotlight on her misuse of tax payer monies and to discourage others from following in her path. On the particular day in question, activists arrived at 7:15 am, holding signs and leafleting silently—there was no chanting at this outreach. The activists were unaware of London’s routine or whereabouts and so were surprised when, around 7:45am, London and husband Abe Wagner, appearing to be returning home from a walk, approached them with their two...
P4S Top Hits of 2015

P4S Top Hits of 2015

THE LONG GOODBYE The monkeys are still where they shouldn’t be: still far from the jungles, from the trees, the vines, the flowers, the birds, the butterflies; far from the evening breezes, the sun on their uplifted faces, the moonlight silvering their fur; still far far away from the mothers that gave them birth, from the aunties and uncles who took care of them, from the squawking sisters and brothers tumbling through the leaves, still far from homes they will never see again or, for those born in labs, homes they will never see at all. They are still in their cold neon-lit cages at the University of California but, at least, their head tormenter has flown the coop. The leaving town of drug-study vivisector David Jentsch, one of UCLA’s top money draws, was one of the big events that marked our year here at Progress for Science. It was a year of wins, of losses and of broadening horizons. Working in both Minnesota and Los Angeles we took on new campaigns and new focuses. We created new events and kept on keeping on as well. ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN On February 15 of last year, P4S staged one of our biggest protests ever as we orchestrated an answer to the demonstration of frothing hate that the vivisectors had backfire and bring shame upon themselves weeks before. On the one-year anniversary we returned to Edythe London’s neighborhood with our very own villain! Or rather a towering papier-mâché Edythe specially made for us by one of our talented supporters.  We have it on good authority that Ms. London was not...
David Jentsch has LEFT TOWN!

David Jentsch has LEFT TOWN!

In Progress for Science’s three years of existence we can’t count the number of times we and others before us have stood outside David Jentsch’s gated property and yelled and yelled at him to leave town. His neighbors have all come to know that he has “blood on his hands”, that there is “no excuse for animal abuse”, that there is “no rest for animal abusers”, that “we will never back down” until he stops the killing and they probably also wonder how he sleeps at night. In this time period we’ve also sent letters to his boss, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Regents of the University of California; we’ve organized call-ins, email and photo campaigns; we’ve drawn up reports; we’ve sent postcards, made petitions, shown videos, done outreach and knocked on neighbors’ doors; we’ve stood vigil, read poems, sang songs; we’ve held memorials and funeral marches; we’ve done street performances and banner drops and lit up freeway overpasses.  We’ve been SLAPP-suited, spittled on and lied about; we’ve made a bunch of videos, constructed giant puppets, given talks and handed out messaged bananas. Others, in the days before P4S, have allegedly taken more drastic steps. At Progress for Science, we know activism works. We looked at the history of antivivisection activism in LA and it was clear—the ruckus that activists have raised, our hue and cry, has led at least one UCLA vivisector, Dario Ringach, to give up his evil ways, and another to decrease her involvement in monkey killing. But then Progress for Science supporters in Los Angeles and around the world may have...
Life after Labs and Jails: New Life Animal Sanctuary’s Gina Lynn

Life after Labs and Jails: New Life Animal Sanctuary’s Gina Lynn

Jake: Ask her about getting arrested with her mom. Me: So tell me about the time you got arrested with your mom. Gina: Which time? The sun is finally starting to set after a blistering near 100-degree day out in the semi-arid scrub country of the Elsinore Valley in the Inland Empire. In the lengthening shadow of the newly built barn, Gina beckons in the residents from wherever they have been poking about on the sprawling fenced-in property. They know what’s up and they’re pretty good at hustling to her call: It’s treat time! After they have all gathered around─and by “they” we mean 27 Göttingen mini pigs rescued from a Bay Area laboratory─Gina lifts up the first watermelon and smashes it to the ground. The rest of us humans all grab one as well and, before long, all the pink-skinned sweeties are blissfully─and you haven’t seen bliss until you’ve seen the watermelon+pig equation in action─munching away, eyes half closed. (Now that it is fall we see the same enthusiasm given over to pumpkin decimation.) These folks have suffered horrors we can’t ever really imagine and they have the scars to prove it, but now all that is over. They have finally found their forever home complete with mud pits, wading pools, fresh hay, shelter, toys, and the love that they probably never dreamed would happen. SO JUST WHAT IS THIS FOREVER HOME? It’s New Life Animal Sanctuary and as their website (a work in progress) explains, they are a haven exclusively devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals saved from laboratories. This ground-breaking effort offers a permanent...