Student, Local Activists Lead Augmented Reality Reveal of City-Funded Monkey Laboratory
The San Antonio City Council defied residents’ wishes by approving giving $10 million of the city’s COVID-19 relief funds to support experiments on monkeys at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC). So on Friday, members of Students Opposing Speciesism (SOS)—a PETA-backed, youth-led revolt against animal exploitation—will descend on San Antonio City Hall armed with PETA’s new augmented reality (AR) tool to shine a spotlight on the monkeys’ suffering and deaths as well as the true cost of animal testing at the country’s seven national primate research centers, including SNPRC, which are kept afloat by taxpayer money.
The San Antonio hub of SOS will pass out $10 bills, which passersby can scan with their phones, prompting an AR version of the greenback to appear on their screen along with an animated monkey and information about these laboratories, in which monkeys inside cages barely larger than their bodies spin in circles, pull out their fur, and bite themselves in frustration.
When: Friday, March 11, 12 noon
Where: San Antonio City Hall, 100 Military Plaza #4 (at the intersection of North Flores and West Commerce Streets), San Antonio
The students and local activists will also share with passersby how damning federal inspection reports reveal extreme negligence at the SNPRC. Two macaques were seriously hurt after an employee failed to secure a latch on a divider separating them, and a baboon sustained second-degree burns to his hands and feet after coming into contact with an exposed heating pipe. A male baboon lifted a chute door that should have been secured, attacked a female baboon, and killed her infant. A young baboon died after becoming emaciated and sustaining extensive bite wounds to his body, multiple monkeys died after being strangled by door cables and no one noticed, and a baboon was killed when a guillotine door fell on him.
“PETA stands with these students as they condemn the city’s shameful support of this hellish laboratory and open people’s eyes to its violations of animal protection laws and misuse of taxpayer money,” says PETA SOS Senior Director Rachelle Owen.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Texas Biomed nearly $26,000 for repeatedly allowing primates to escape from cages and injure themselves and others, including humans. Last year, 159 baboons suffered from painful frostbite so severe that their fingers, toes, or tails had to be amputated because SNPRC had failed to protect them during a winter storm.
SOS shares PETA’s motto: “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” For more information, please visit SOS.PETA.org or follow SOS on Instagram.
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