Proof That We Can Win Against Animal Researchers

The Rise for Animals Team, October 22, 2023

Last Tuesday night, the animal experimentation industry faced off against us animal protectionists . . . and suffered defeat at our hands! 

Animal experimenters sought to set up shop on public property in Alameda, California.

The evening’s events focused on an application by Science Corp. – an animal experimentation outfit run by co-founder and former President of Neuralink, Max Hodak – to lease a publicly-owned building in Alameda, California, for the purpose of conducting experiments on nonhuman primates, rabbits, and mice. 

A few days before the Tuesday hearing, concerned citizens had reached out to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (“PCRM”), which joined with local advocates and community members to oppose Alameda’s granting of the lease to Science Corp. And they won!

The Alameda City Council voted down(!) the lease after listening to over three hours of testimony from over 40 community members.

Community members, including former animal experimenters, spoke directly to the City Council on Tuesday night and implored its members to deny the lease – i.e., to (1) oppose the exploitation of other-than-human animals and (2) support human-relevant science. 

Among those providing in-person testimony was PCRM, which shared with the Council the atrocities inflicted upon animals by Neuralink during Hodak’s reign.

“ . . . monkeys subjected to invasive brain experiments suffered seizures, paralysis, bloody diarrhea, chronic infections, internal bleeding, and death. The animals also suffered severe psychological distress, demonstrated by frequent hair-pulling and self-harm. On at least two occasions, Neuralink’s lead neurosurgeon failed to follow the company’s own research protocols when he used a toxic adhesive to close gaps in monkeys’ skulls. One incident caused a monkey to suffer from a lack of coordination and balance, partial paralysis in both legs, and such severe vomiting that she developed open sores in her esophagus. Staff noted she was ‘gasping/retching’ and ‘collapse[d] from exhaustion/fatigue.’ When Neuralink finally euthanized her, staff found that blood had built up on the surface of her brain due to a ‘subdural hemorrhage.’”

Unsurprisingly,  “[n]early everyone who did not have a financial stake in the issue opposed the proposed lease….” 

Those seeking to benefit personally and professionally – and, of course, financially – from animal experimentation were left in the minority, and watched as their political powers were  overwhelmed by the people . . . by voices calling loudly for a more just and ethical (and healthy) world.

By achieving this “victory for animals and a win for science”, the residents of Alameda remind us of the changes each of us can facilitate if we embrace care, courage, and collaboration.

We send heartfelt kudos to everyone who supported this effort, and we ask that – whether you did or not – you join with us and our allies to keep rising for animals in defeat of an industry that hurts us all. Together, we can make it happen. 

Right now, please take a moment to share this victory.

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