In the last few years - ever since the passage of the chilling Animal Enterprises Terrorism Act and the implementation of an earlier incarnation of the law - the free speech rights of some animal activists have been trampled in McCarthy-like fashion. People who spoke at public events about the torment that animals are forced to endure in laboratories, sent faxes in protest, ran an informational Web site and organized and attended protests on public property - activities associated with constitutionally protected free speech - found themselves facing prosecution as "terrorists."
This should give all Americans pause. People who engage in nonviolent protests and civil disobedience are sitting in jail cells, stigmatized by one of the most politically charged and discrediting labels of our time, while people who wake up every morning and go to jobs in which they torment and kill animals in laboratories continue to enjoy their freedom, paychecks, social lives and families.
As a case in point, PETA just released the findings of an eight-month undercover investigation at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Wearing a hidden camera, our investigator documented circumstances that violate our moral sensibilities about how we ought to treat animals and represent what we believe are dozens of violations of federal laws and guidelines governing the treatment of dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, mice, rats and pigs.
Tiny mice with grotesque tumors were left to suffer from cancers that had nearly grown bigger than their bodies. Laboratory workers couldn't even manage to make sure that all mice had water, and one worker admitted that mice in the laboratory die of dehydration "all the time."
Monkeys were kept deprived of water so that they would cooperate during experiments in exchange for a sip. Imagine these animals' lives: They had holes drilled into their skulls and metal hardware attached to their heads. They live in tiny cages, all alone, without even the touch and comfort of a companion. They are so emotionally and physically traumatized that they constantly whirl or rock back and forth. And on top of all this, they are always thirsty - so thirsty they'll do almost anything for a few drops of water.