portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

actions & protests | animal rights

16 Animal Activists Cited and/or Arrested in Utah

On Sunday April 27, 2008, 16 animal activists held an outreach protest at the neighborhood of two University of Utah primate vivisectors to educate the neighborhood about the atrocities occurring at the University of Utah animal resource center. When activists showed up - they discovered that the University of Utah had hired 24 hour security for the homes of some of its personnel - surely with a hefty price tag!
Activists were well-aware that the city had recently adopted an anti-speech ordinance requiring activists to remain off of public property near a 'targeted residence' during a 'targeted residential protest' - so they tailored their protest with that in mind. Rather than do a targeted picket, activists continually marched around the neighborhood - never remaining stationary - to educate the general neighborhood about the barbaric treatment of animals at the U of U facilities. The march also had no targeted residence - no names were ever even mentioned as being associated with the cruelty inside labs.

This didn't stop police from misinterpreting the statute. When they arrived, they ordered everyone to sit on the curb immediately - no warnings given at all, despite this being the first neighborhood protest for over half of the activists there. They demanded everyone show ID. When one person simply asked why they were being shown ID - they were carted off to jail. Another was taken to jail when the officer disapproved of his signature on the citation form (he was still only cited with the same crime - however). One other activist said that they were proud and for exercising their first amendment rights and would continue doing so. He stated that if the cops were serious about making him leave they would have to arrest him and take him to jail - he wouldn't give up his rights without a fight. So they did. One other activist was arrested on a prior warrant.

The University likes to paint animal activists as harassing - merely for protesting in the neighborhood of faculty and using free speech to educate their neighbors about what they do for a living. But the real harassment is occurring by the state against animal activists. No merely for holding a protest 16 people are being charged with a class B misdemeanor and four others had to spend hours - or overnight - in jail. Activists in Salt Lake City have also had undercover officers wait outside their homes and take photos of them as they walked to their car. People's places of employment have been called by the FBI as the FBI instills fear in their minds that their employees are 'terrorists'. The list goes on.

But no matter what happens to local activists - it will be nothing compared to what the animals go through - and so we continue to fight. All activists intend to fight the charges and a civil lawsuit is also being considered against the city. We will keep everyone posted.

In the meantime, if you want to take some action wherever you are, you can write polite letters to U of U researchers and ask them to reconsider their cruel career:

Alessandra Angelucci & Paul Bressloff
2705 Eagle Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Robert H. Lane
4552 Jupiter Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84124

Jennifer Ichida
422 1st Ave.
Salt Lake City, UT 84103