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End plans to build a new animal lab

This petition had 2,470 supporters

On Thursday, November 14, the University of Washington Board of Regents approved the funding and construction of the "Animal Research and Care Facility.” The facility would be built almost entirely underground and increase UW’s capacity to house and experiment on animals by thousands. UW already uses hundreds of nonhuman primates, dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits, Guinea pigs, and countless other small animals in its invasive and abusive research. The new animal lab would at least double these numbers.

The Board of Regents was hesitant to approve the new facility amid concerns over increasing expenditures, as the project costs rose from $86 million to $123 million. Now that the Regents have approved the facility, they will be forced to endure even greater financial burden, as animal advocates from all over the globe are participating in a campaign to stop construction at all costs. Such market-oriented opposition will hit the University’s bottom-line by driving up the cost of the project and any subsequent revisions, bidding processes, or day-to-day maintenance.

The UW is considered a leader in scientific research, so it should be dedicated to pushing advancements in research technology rather than expanding its reliance on outdated and unethical animal research methods that produce inaccurate results. While institutions as prestigious as Harvard are moving away from animal models, UW is investing in them.

Those investments mean a daily reality of suffering and abuse for the animals held captive at UW. This university has a history of citations from the USDA for neglectful and improper animal care. The most recent citation came in December 2014 for the negligent death of three infant primates who were brutally attacked by older males, an event that is all too common for primates used in research. Not a single animal—whether a primate, cat, or mouse—should ever be forced to suffer and die at the UW.

We can do better. The UW can do better. Think of the good that $123 million could do if it were invested elsewhere, in approaches that generate real results, not just revenue. We are asking the UW and Skanska USA to make the intelligent and ethical decision: don't expand animal research at the University of Washington and end plans to build a new animal lab.

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