and Tammy J. Oseid
Three animal rights activists camped in cages outside Moos Tower late Monday to protest primate research. Their 91-hour fast will last until 10 p.m. Friday.
Members of the Student Organization for Animal Rights said the fast is just a part of a series of protests scheduled for the remainder of the year.
“We care that animals are being tortured here,” said Matt Bullard, 24, the protester who suspended himself from the tower for six days earlier this month. “We’re fasting in solidarity with the animals.”
Inside the three cages, protesters huddled in thick sleeping bags with bottles of water nearby and books to pass the time. A roll of gray duct tape and white tennis shoes were the only other items in the wire pens.
Fred Tyler, another activist camped on the sidewalk, said the protesters are fasting one hour for each primate housed in the tower. Marilyn Carroll, a University psychiatry professor, is the main researcher targeted by the activists.
Protesters have reiterated demands Bullard made during his airborne demonstration, including a public debate, tour of the research facilities and immediate release of the primates.
The University has refused to comply with any of the demands, the activists said.
Bullard said the protesters filed Freedom of Information Act requests to gather information about Carroll’s federal grants. He said the grant summaries detail the researcher’s use of cocaine in her animal behavior studies.
The activists encouraged passers-by to sign petitions and mail postcards to University President Mark Yudof and Rep. Michael Bilirakis, R-Fla., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment.
But few onlookers signed the petitions Monday night.
“It’s pretty extreme,” said Andy Groettum, a freshman English major. “All of a sudden we come to the University, and there is a guy hanging from the side of a building. And now there are people in cages on the side of the street. It’s a taste of the city, I guess.”