By Aaron Yarmel
I love the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am inspired by its students, and I have only the utmost respect for its professors, administrators, and staff who continually produce new knowledge and serve our community in extraordinary ways. Given what I have just said, it might seem surprising that I would request that the USDA levy a large fine against UW-Madison. Yet that is exactly what I am about to do.
In October of 2016, the Guardian reported that, “Last year, 12 primates escaped enclosures at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Each of these animals suffered injuries, with some losing portions of their tongues and others needing amputations of their digits.” Such articles do not merely reflect poorly on the individuals who allowed the harm to take place. They reflect poorly on our entire community by sending a clear message: the rights of primates are not respected here.
The USDA is currently investigating UW-Madison for potential violations of the animal welfare act. A small fine—a slap on the wrist—will not meaningfully challenge the injustices committed against those 12 primates. For this reason, I urge you to write to the following address and ask that the maximum fine be levied:
Your email (like this blog post) is not an attack against our community or our great university. Rather, it is an expression of hope for what we can build if we work together to fight for the rights of all animals.