Rights protesters hold vigil

By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 3, 1996

Benjamin W. Biewer
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Protesters gather outside of UMC with signs and banners on the seventh anniversary of the release of test animals from UMC labs by the Animal Liberation Front. Roberta Wright, with megaphone, director of SPEAK, rallied 15 to 20 supporters at the vigil, which was held along Campbell Avenue yesterday evening.


Flanked by an 8-by-9-foot banner reading, "If not you, who? If not now, when?", supporters of the Animal Liberation Front held a vigil outside University Medical Center last night, the seventh anniversary of the ALF break-in at the UA.

"This is the first time there has been a demonstration to support ALF itself," said Roberta Wright, director of Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom, a local animal rights group. "We think the general public needs to know that ALF is not the enemy."

The night of April 2, 1989, the ALF set fire to two University of Arizona buildings, released 1,200 laboratory animals, and vandalized four laboratories, stated a UA report from just after the incident.

Dr. Michael Cusanovich, UA vice president for research and graduate studies, said last night that he does not disagree with the group's right to protest, but supports animal research and cannot condone arson, breaking and entering and vandalism.

"That's terrorism where I come from," he said.

UMC has imposed extra security this month, World Animal Month, Cusanovich said, "Everyone is on a high state of alert."

Despite this, Cusanovich added, "If they're holding a demonstration, they're not likely making terrorist acts."

"You can't torture one animal to help another," said protestor Peggy Raisglid, a UA chemistry doctoral candidate. "The most important thing is to get the word out."

Cusanovich said, "Animal research is absolutely critical. It is responsible for saving thousands of lives per year."

ALF has claimed responsibility for over 90 raids on animal research facilities nationwide and to date only two members have been arrested.