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Address at UC Berkeley
By Nancy Kivette
Thank you everyone for coming here today to commemorate World Week for
Animals in Laboratories. I'm proud to be here with such fine activists as
Mike Kennedy suspended from the Campanile, Keven Keller, and Josh Trenter,
as well as Dr. Neilands, Marti Kheel, my friend Jeffrey Masson, my love
Dr. Elliot Katz, and, of course, all of you.
Through IDA's "They Are Not Our Property, We Are Not Their Owners"
campaign, I've come to thoroughly understand that the exploitation of
animals everywhere exists solely because we as a society do not recognize
the rights of animals any more than we at one time did not recognize the
rights of certain human beings. If animals are ever to be liberated from
the incarceration of laboratories and the horrors of vivisection, we
humans must first recognize all animals as individuals with wants, needs,
desires, and rights of their own. I quote our nation's great civil rights
leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, who said:
"There comes a time when a moral man can't obey a law which his
conscience tells him is unjust. It is important to see that there are
times when a man-made law is out of harmony with the moral law of the
universe. There is nothing that expressed massive civil disobedience any
more than the Boston Tea Party, and yet we give this to our young people
and our students as part of the great tradition of our nation. So I think
we are in good company when we break unjust laws, and I think those who
are willing to do it and accept the penalty are those who are part of the
saving of the nation."
Thank you Dr. King. Wherever you are, you are certainly in my heart
So, I believe all of us here today are also in good company, very good
company in fact, because of our colleagues who climbed the Campanile and
dropped the beautiful banner that reads: "END VIVISECTION ~ ANIMAL
LIBERATION." These activists were willing to break the law and accept the
penalty in order to educate others about the barbaric practice of
vivisection at U.C. Berkeley and the expansion of its dead-end use in the
forthcoming neuroscience center at this campus.
Because one man-made law defines animals as "property," and another
man-made law permits the harming and killing of that animal "property,"
does not make either the ownership or the abuse a moral action. No
individual is the property of another, even if a man-made law says she is.
Taking and using the life of one individual to benefit the life of another
is out of harmony with the moral law of the universe.
Likewise, taking and using 15 million dollars of taxpayers' monies and
students' tuitions to provide and expand such a use of animals is out of
harmony with a student's right to ethical education. Every one of you
students has the right to an ethical education, one that does not include
the drugging, burning, blinding, infecting, shocking, addicting, shooting,
freezing and surgical mutilation of another individual by your teachers
behind your classroom doors on your campus, all of which you pay for.
I'm sure you've heard before that the success of your education will
depend, in part, on what you make of it, on what you put into it. No one
here is going to give you what you want simply because you want it.
Professors Russell DeValois, Richard Van Sluyters, Walter Freeman and
Carla Shatz, are not going to stop their highly invasive, conspicuously
cruel and unnecessary experiments on animals simply because we want them
to. U.C. Berkeley belongs to you, the students. And I promise you this: If
you take an active stand against the Center for Neuroscience and the
expansion of animal research, your education will be enriched a
thousandfold because it will then reflect your compassion as well as your
taking right action according to Gandhi, Buddha, and Martin Luther King,
who are good company indeed. Take pride in your convictions and the
strength to abolish this university's animal abuse will naturally follow.
U.C. Berkeley belongs to you, the students. Thank you.