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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 today.

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.