Applied biology and wildlife habitat management sophomore Chelsea Richards, left, Brandon Kawecki, middle, and conservation biology freshman Michal Redman protest Thursday on University Drive against the use of laboratory animals in the Biological Engineering department at ASU.
A small group of protesters gathered along University Drive outside Manzanita
Hall on Thursday and held signs and models of laboratory monkeys in pain and
ASU students, Valley residents and members of local animal rights' groups staged a small demonstration to protest the Biodesign Institute's use of animals for research.
"We wouldn't want to be trapped in [cages] with nothing to do," said Shaynie Aero, founder of Last Chance for Animals Arizona and co-founder of Animal Commandos.
"I am absolutely 100 percent against keeping animals in cages or for any form of human use," said Chelsea Richards, an applied biology and wildlife habitat sophomore.
Richards said keeping pets is a different situation.
"All of my pets are rescues," she said.
Kimberly Ovitt, director of communications for the Biodesign Institute, said animal testing at ASU is not what opponents call "needless."
"All of our testing that involves animals is aimed at improving human health and quality of life," Ovitt said. "It's not for cosmetics, or anything like that."
Ovitt said animal testing at ASU is not taken lightly.
"Researchers must go through committee," Ovitt said. "The committee must approve of how the animal is used, and that it is for a legitimate purpose."
The protesters directed their message at passing cars, but also passed out fliers. People passing by said they did not know much about the topic, or did not understand the demonstrators' message.
Ovitt said protesters would be more effective if they tried to help scientists in their efforts to decrease the number of animals being used in research. She said ASU researchers develop methods that do not include animals, including computer models and noninvasive testing procedures.
"If [protesters'] solution is no research," she said, "then that's not contributing to medical care."