Monkeys Roam, Even in the Yard
Is it possible? Harvard students relinquish the opportunity for a protest? Now that the Ivy League experience is better represented by "PCU" than "Animal House," rallies have become as popular as parties for student entertainment.
"World Week for Animals in Laboratories," which ran through last week, gave animal rights activists from Boston and beyond an opportunity to descend on the Square and protest the use of primates in laboratory experiments at Harvard and MIT. Caged demonstrators, armed with incendiary photos that allegedly depicted the torturous treatment of primates at the MIT labs, vowed to remain silent for 100 hours in protest of this indignity.
A liberal cause, an anti-establishment viewpoint and in-your-face protest tactics: Sounds like Harvard's recipe for a good time. However, the participation of Harvard students in yesterday's "festivities" was sorely missed. Despite e-mails sent by organizers to campus activist groups, there was little response from the campus community.
This doesn't bode well for WWFAIL. It's safe to assume that if Harvard students don't care, nobody does. The fact that on most days you can barely walk two feet in the yard without running into some kind of protest is proof enough that the Harvard student body as a whole is hardly apathetic. If they can't drum up support here, prospects are looking bleak for the talk-show circuit.
Perhaps students were unmoved by the 15-foot banner which asserted that "Harvard tortures 1,500 primates" because they are aware that the same tortures, namely being "restrained unnecessarily, deprived of food and water, infected with diseases and left in their own feces" are weathered by 6,400 primates on a regular basis: Harvard undergraduates.
These monkeys are nothing new. We all have to write papers and work when we'd rather be busting moves on the Avalon dance floor. So much for being restrained unnecessarily. Dining hall fare gets old pretty fast, and a college budget often precludes the local options for more haute cuisine. The word "deprived" certainly comes to mind. Dorm and house life is notorious for the fast spread of disease: Cold, flu and mono all come with the territory. And what of being left in one's own feces? Surely that is beyond the realm of the typical Harvard undergrad. Sadly, even at one of the nation's finest institutions of higher learning, students sometimes wake up after a night of heavy partying shocked and horrified at what they have done the night before. Enough said.
Now that World Week for Animals in Laboratories has come to a close, perhaps the lack of support will convince the protestors to prolong their vow of silence. At least on this issue.
--ALLISON A. MELIA