Managers of Skanska USA construction company who is a contractor hired to build a new animal testing lab for the University of Washington are locking legal horns with animal rights activists they state are harassing them. KOMO News reports at first the opposition to UW’s medical lab involved opponents attending public meetings and protesting in front of Skanska’s downtown Seattle office. Now, they have escalated their efforts to protesting in front of manager’s homes and insult their families. Animal rights protesters have been holding demonstrations outside Skanska managers’ homes where activists insult managers and their wives and children of being puppy killers, monkey killers and murderers. Managers have also reported the words dog killer and other terms involving their names scrawled in chalk on or near their homes.
It is alleged that the organizer of the protests is an animal rights activist named Amanda Schemkes. Skanska managers have won court injunctions preventing her from going near their homes and directing others to do so. The managers also allege she has directed protests or harassment efforts against Skanska construction workers. However, Schemkes is trying to appeal the injunction claiming her free speech rights have been violated and other environmentalist groups such as EarthFirst! and No New Animal Lab have participated in efforts to publicize Schemkes’ group’s work.
The facility in question will be a $123 million facility built with private funds on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus. The construction is being financed by internal loans that will be paid back by future clients. Though most of the research and experimentation conducted at the facility will utilize mice and rats, larger animals, such as primates (i.e. monkeys), will also be used. The lab has been promoted as necessary in order to expand the university’s research in the life sciences but opposition to it began almost immediately after its construction was announced including allegations of animal cruelty at UW’s existing research lab.
There are many instances of animal rights groups conducting harassment of people who work in research facilities that utilize vivisection. However, this situation is unique because now employees involved in the construction of animal testing labs are being targeted. It used to be that animal rights terrorists would enter a lab involved in vivisection and kidnap or let the animals go. Instead, researchers are seeing their cars firebombed and issue death or intimidation threats not just to people who work in animal testing laboratories but even to patients. One pro-animal group out of England earlier this year advertised its willingness to pay bribe money for college students to snitch on their friends if they were involved in research involving animal testing.
Harassment, violence and intimidation of people involved in animal testing be it on the research or construction level ultimately discourages people from pursuing the life sciences. I have yet to see any of these so-called animal rights activists offer themselves to take the drugs or subject themselves to the surgeries performed on the animals they save. Animal testing is necessary in order for humans to live and prosper. I will never forget the plight of 25 year old Caterina Simonsen who back in 2013 was continuously harassed and insulted by animal rights terrorists for advertising on her Facebook page how animal testing helped her live. Had there not been any new drugs or surgeries resulting from animal testing in order to treat her rare lung condition she would have died at age nine. Fortunately, as of this essay Caterina is still alive and seems to be better. At one point the insults and harassment became too much for her that she had to be hospitalized resulting from the stress in which the intimidation efforts against Caterina online could have killed her.
Animal rights is not about the humane or ethical treatment of animals but the animalistic treatment of humans. It is one more avenue environmentalists use in their war on mankind. In this case of animal rights it is as much an attack on our healthcare as much as it is an attack on our food supply. In the example of Caterina Simonsen animal rights groups would rather see people like her die in order to sacrifice her and other patient’s lives to the needs of the life of an animal. It is not cruelty to value human life over the life of an animal. As a species we have a moral right, short of mindless self indulgence and cruelty, to exploit the Earth and its resources that include animals for our betterment. Efforts to take that ability away should be openly and peacefully resisted.