Animal Rights Activists Remember the Dead with a Ceremony on Pioneer Plaza

Demonstrators at Pioneer Plaza mark National Animal Rights Day.
Demonstrators at Pioneer Plaza mark National Animal Rights Day.
Melissa Hennings

Last November, the National Institutes of Health announced that it would stop providing funding to biomedical research using chimpanzees as test subjects. 

"NIH will no longer maintain a colony of 50 chimpanzees for future research. All NIH-owned chimpanzees that reside outside of the Federal Sanctuary System operated by Chimp Haven, Keithville, Louisiana, are now eligible for retirement," NIH's director, Dr. Francis S. Collins announced.

That was a major victory for animal rights activists who are seeking an end to all animal research, along with the use of animals for food, clothing and entertainment.

Obviously, the activists still have a long battle ahead, and to commemorate the animals that are still being killed for food for human purposes, organizers in 14 cities planned ceremonies marking National Animal Rights Day, including Dallas.

Sunday's ceremony was both odd and moving, with dozens of demonstrators solemnly standing on Pioneer Plaza outside the convention center, quietly holding in their arms the bodies of a menagerie of dead animals to remind passersby of the millions of animals killed and abused annually for science, commerce and pleasure.

Photographer Melissa Hennings was there for the Observer, and her images are online in a slideshow, "National Animal Rights Day." We also captured a video of the ceremony, along with an interview with Dr. John Pippin. Dr. Pippin is a former nuclear cardiology researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and was founding director of cardiovascular medicine and medical imaging at Cooper Clinic in Dallas before joining the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in 2005, where he serves as director of academic affairs.

"Sometimes it feels like there is not enough time, not enough resources, not enough caring and not enough will to save our animal brothers and sisters ... I'd like to remind you that we can win, that we do win," Pippin told the demonstrators.


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