Meet Activists Working to Save Monkeys in ASU’s Labs
The Rise for Animals Team, April 22, 2021
Last November, we exposed never-before-seen photos from inside Arizona State University’s (ASU) primate research laboratories.
The photos are hard to look at—a luckless macaque monkey confined and restrained for up to 6 hours, 5–7 days a week as part of a multi-year experiment. And he’s not the only animal forced to comply with experiments at ASU’s labs. There are thousands of others—monkeys, mice, rats, chinchillas, fish, lizards, octopus, and more—who are forced to live and work for experimenters doing cruel, unnatural things behind the walls of ASU’s shrouded research facilities.
But at ASU, it’s not all misery; champions for animals are fighting every day to free these individuals and shut down animal experiments at the university and beyond. We’d like you to meet two of these incredible activists: Andrea Vee and Chandra Fuller. We want you to know all about Andrea’s and Chandra’s inspiring work to protect animals and end animal experimentation for good.
Why should people care about what’s happening to animals at Arizona State University?
Andrea: Our tax dollars are funding a profit-generating scam under the guise of science and at the expense of animals who have the capability to feel. This is an absolute outrage. Researchers in higher education are conducting intrusive experiments on monkeys that have been done since the 1960s and are not yielding any new information. It’s time to free the monkeys!
What inspired you to take on this campaign?
Chandra: When I saw the photos in Rise [for Animals]’ press release of the monkeys being restrained, I knew I had to take action. Once I saw the pure terror in their eyes, I knew I had to fight for them. The fact that these experiments are happening is disgusting and I will do everything I can to help stop these individuals’ suffering.
Andrea: I am an ASU alumni. I don’t want to be associated with an institution that is practicing archaic and unethical work. I can’t even imagine how terrified these individuals feel every single second. To know this is occurring in my hometown is heartbreaking. I knew I had to take action.
What are some of the ways Rise for Animals is supporting your grassroots efforts to end these experiments?
Andrea: We are so grateful to Rise for many reasons. First, they provided all the materials we needed to launch our campaign. This has been especially helpful during the pandemic. Rise has also provided invaluable first-hand guidance. Amy [Meyer, Rise’s Director of Grassroots Organizing,] is so hands on, which we didn’t anticipate from anyone at her caliber. We feel so supported. Rise is making this campaign as easy as possible for us!
What’s your favorite creative activism approach so far from your current campaign to save the primates at ASU?
Andrea: The “ASU KILLS MONKEYS” light brigade signs were my favorite. Succinct, to the point, and super attention-grabbing.
Can you tell us about any memorable conversation you have had with students, or others, about the monkeys at ASU?
Andrea: The biggest thing we have noticed is that the general public and students are completely unaware of what ASU is doing. This is intentional. ASU researchers claim they are acting ethically but why all the secrets? Why does no one know what they’re doing to monkeys on their campus?
What characteristics are shared by members of your group that make you effective in your work to end these experiments on animals?
Chandra: One characteristic shared by all of us is a sense of commitment. All of us balance a variety of responsibilities, but we are all committed to animal rights and to changing the lives of animals. We definitely would not be as effective in this campaign if this commitment did not exist.
Andrea: Determination. We have all been involved in this movement for many years and are so determined to make real life change for these monkeys.
What would you say to inspire people who think their voices and actions to end animal experimentation won’t matter?
Chandra: Although it can feel daunting at times, it is so important to remember that all social movements started with people like us standing up and fighting for what is right!
Andrea: It is easy to think [your voice doesn’t matter], but we were able to secure a meeting with the researcher at ASU due to everyone’s emails [in support of freeing the monkeys]! He felt the pressure applied by the community and actually spoke to us. I truly don’t believe this would have happened had it not been for our community taking action.
How can Rise for Animals’ supporters—in Arizona and all over the country—help pressure ASU to end its cruelty toward animals in labs?
Andrea: Please sign the petition by Veg Out ASU. Like most universities, Arizona State cares about their reputation because that affects their bottom line. Share, share, share the story of the monkeys. Everyone should know about these atrocities ASU is trying desperately to hide.
Chandra: In addition to signing the petition and sharing their story, Rise supporters can participate in the online actions and contact the key players in this campaign; the researcher, the award funder, and the ASU president. The more pressure we put on ASU, the quicker we will be able to help free the individuals who are being tortured.