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To the Editors of The Crimson:
It is fraudulent to extract sympathy from the reader by juxtaposing a photograph of two people comforting each other while standing on the Names Project AIDS quilt with a slam against the animal rights movement, as does an advertisement that appeared in your March 31 issue.
This ad, which has since then been pulled following complaints from AIDS activists, was sponsored by an organization headed by Leon Hirsch, the president of Connecticut-based U.S. Surgical Corp. USSC, which made $843 million last year, uses live dogs in marketing demonstrations of surgical staplers. The company has nothing to do with AIDS research.
Animal experimentation is not the solution to AIDS, or to any other illness afflicting our society. In studies of highly social and intelligent chimpanzees--who have been both crammed two to a cage measuring 22" by 22" and isolated in the semidarkness in barren, soundproof, oven-like chambers at the SEMA laboratory outside Washington, D.C.--the animals infected with the HIV virus have not actually become sick with AIDS.
If they had, the conditions under which the chimpanzees are "warehoused" would compromise their immune systems so much that the results of the study would be highly questionable.
When renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall visited SEMA, which was receiving about $1.5 million a year in federal funds to conduct AIDS and hepatitis experiments on nonhuman primates, she found one young female who rocked continuously, oblivious of her surroundings, even when removed from her cage.
Each year an estimated 60 to 80 million animals are killed in U.S. laboratories. They are used to study everything from AIDS to color blindness and to test cosmetics and oven cleaners.
Alternatives exist, and more would be developed if animals weren't so plentiful and cheap. A few years after pound seizure (the release of animals from pounds for laboratory experiments) had been banned in Massachusetts, the demand for dogs by Harvard faculty had dropped by 50 percent.
The throw-away attitude our society has acquired, for most people, includes animals, too. Contrary to the message in the ad, there are other ways of thinking, searching and feeling. The more rigid we are about maintaining an anti-animal, anti-life stance, the more we ourselves will suffer. Christine Jackson People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
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