Hundreds of animal-rights supporters marched across the University of Washington campus Saturday and temporarily blocked streets to protest a planned $124 million animal-research lab.
A crowd of about 500 animal-rights supporters marched across the University of Washington campus Saturday and temporarily blocked neighborhood streets to protest construction of a $124 million underground animal-research lab.
“U-Dub has blood on its hands. Skanska USA has blood on its hands,” the group chanted in its opposition to both the university and the contractor on the job.
The group marched to, but did not try to enter, the site where excavation work on the facility has begun. Dozens of University of Washington and Seattle police officers on bicycles provided a buffer between the marchers and traffic.
Excavation work has begun on the lab along Northeast Pacific Street. UW administrators say it will consolidate animal labs around campus into one new, state-of-the-art facility.
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UW is one of the top universities in the country in receiving federal research funds, including money for research involving animals.
Organizers of Saturday’s event vowed to keep up the pressure and predicted public opinion will halt the project.
Amanda Schemkes, one of the march’s leaders, said the more the public knows about this “underground animal torture chamber,” the less support it will have, even at the university.
“We’ll make them see it’s not worth the money and not worth the damage to the UW’s reputation.”
The group gathered in Red Square, writing messages such as “UW tortures animals” in chalk on the brick surface.
One speaker, Justin Kay, of Portland, said, “This is not a fringe movement. This is a public issue. The public is opposed to this lab.”
Opponents of the lab previously have demonstrated outside the homes of a half-dozen UW administrators.
Among them is Dave Anderson, executive director of the university’s Health Sciences Administration. Earlier in the week, Anderson called the protests an “intimidation tactic” and said it won’t stop the project.