Animal rights activists are wrapping up Open the Cages Tour of 2012. The protest tour made stops in major cities across the west coast of the United States and in Canada. The tour involves film screenings and music performances along with demonstrations.
The tour’s stated goal is to raise awareness about the prevalence and cruelty of animal testing. The tour’s website states, “we planned this tour to not only educate people about the fraudulent scientific research and billions of taxpayer dollars that are invested in dead-end animal trials, but also to visit every major city on the west coast that has a university or company that participates in animal testing.”
The tour is organized and sponsored by the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SEAN). The organization, which was founded in 1996, is dedicated to abolishing all animal testing and experimentation. A factsheet created by SEAN references a USDA estimate of animals used in experimentation in the fiscal year 2009. The sheet states that “1,136,841 primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and other species were subjected to experimental procedure.” Most animals are euthanized at the end of a study or research project, often for the purpose of sample collection or post-mortem examination, other times because they are experiencing pain or suffering. PETA, which cites the same USDA statistic, also proclaims that more than $16 billion in taxpayer money is spent annually on animal testing.
According to SEAN, “during 2010, US labs experimented on an all-time high of 71, 317 primates—a five year increase of 24%.” The organization also asserts that research done using primates does not focus on deadly disease. Rather, it entails mostly studies in psychology, addiction, and brain-mapping. In a pamphlet the organization mentions the National Eye Institute as an example, which “funds over 50 brain-mapping projects in primates, squandering over $125 million every five years.”
The Open the Cages Tour, which kicked off on July 12and is scheduled to end on August 4, included screenings of the film Maximum Tolerated Dose; a documentary featuring stories and testimonies from scientists and technicians who have witnessed or participated in animals testing. The tour’s calendar includes protests at UC San Diego, UC Riverside, Davis Primate Center, Charles River Laboratory, Oregon National Primate Research Center, and at the University of Washington.