5 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW To Fight the UW Open Records Exemption

1. Go to a hearing.

I’ve written about my experience attending a hearing at Sequoya library a couple of weeks ago. One of our members attended the hearing at East High School last night and told us the following:

I went to one of the Budget Hearings Tonight and one of my reps (who knows me because I’ve talked with her a couple of times) said I was the first person who has brought up the UW exception from the Open Records law at the hearings so please please if you live in Wisconsin write the Joint Finance Folks and tell them you oppose that inclusion in the budget.

There are only a few hearings left. If you can make them, please do! (Cities listed below, for locations see the AFSCME list.)

  • March 31: Dodgeville
  • April 1: Menasha
  • April 2: Oconto (Rep. Nygren, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee is presiding, so this is SUPER important)
  • April 3: Howard (Rep. Nygren, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee is presiding, so this is SUPER important)
  • April 6: Wausau
  • April 6: UW-Marinette Campus (Rep. Nygren, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee is presiding, so this is SUPER important)
  • April 11: Eau Claire

If you choose to speak, here are two scripts and list of talking points you can use.

Script 1:

“I’m speaking out against the UW open records exemption. This is a policy item, and it has no place in a budget document, and I believe the university should be transparent to tax payers.  Similar items were introduced in 2013 and 2014 and intelligently thrown out. We should do the same with this.”

Script 2:

I encourage you to speak to the Joint Finance Committee about removing the UW open records exemption that reads:

“The bill creates an exception to the open records law for information produced or collected by or for UWSA faculty or staff with respect to commercial, scientific, or technical research until that information is publicly disseminated or patented.”

Such an exception has nothing to do with finance, and such an action limits the transparency of the university to the tax paying public. As an animal lover and as someone who believes in the Wisconsin idea, this concerns me. Wisconsin deserves more from our public university and from our local government.

Talking points:

  • Similar items were introduced in 2013 and 2014 and intelligently thrown out by legislators
  • The exemption is a policy item that has nothing to do with finances and should not be included in this bill
  • Anyone who supports freedom of information would oppose this exemption
  • The university should be accountable and transparent to the taxpayers

If you choose to register, register against the bill, and if there is space to write a specific item you oppose, write “UW open records exemption.”

If you cannot attend, see the next action item!

2. Contact your legislators.

Melissa Harris Perry calls voting the “brushing your teeth” of democracy, and when I told a friend that the other day, they said contacting your legislators is “flossing your teeth.” He said it’s something we know we should do more regularly, because it actually does make a difference.

How you contact your legislators is up to you. You can email, write a letter, call, write letters to the editor, or all of the above!

Don’t know who your legislators are? Click here to find out!

N.B. If your legislators are on the Joint Finance Committee, it is CRUCIAL that you contact them. Click on the names below to see their contact information.

Senate Members​ ​Assembly Members
Senator Alberta Darling, Co-Chair​ Representative John Nygren, Co-Chair​
Senator Luther Olsen​ Representative Dale Kooyenga
Senator Sheila Harsdorf Representative Amy Loudenbeck
Senator Leah Vukmir Representative Dean Knudson
Senator Tom Tiffany Representative Michael Schraa
Senator Howard Marklein Representative Mary Czaja
Senator Lena Taylor ​Representative Chris Taylor
Senator Jon Erpenbach Representative Gordon Hintz

3. Sign up to attend Humane Lobby Day.

Registration for Humane Lobby Day closes THIS THURSDAY, April 2nd. If you haven’t already, please sign up!

Humane Lobby Day is a chance to talk with your representatives about animal issues that matter to you, and I have it on good authority that the UW open records exemption is going to be one of those issues.

4. Sign and share this change.org petition.

5. Use your creative side to create an image, gif, or video.

Let’s make this message go viral! Email your image to hannah@allanimals.org and we’ll share it on facebook (anonymously or with credit, your choice.) Here are some examples!

sunshine lawsbaseball metaphor bowling metaphor

The text is taken from the first paragraph of the change.org petition and the information is from our page on open records. Click the images to make them larger.

Optional #6: Mark your calendar for April 18 – 25!

We are planning some great events for World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week, including a writers’ group event on April 18th and a public action on April 25th. If you have more ideas, please send them to hannah@allanimals.org.

I Went to the Budget Hearing, and It Was Awesome.

Last night was the first time I’ve ever attended or spoke at a local representative listening session, so I’m including this breakdown for people who want to know more about the experience.

Basically the set up, but with only Senator Risser and Representative Berceau, and with a wall as the backdrop. We all sat in chairs in front of them. Image via Fred Risser’s facebook page.

The session I attended was the one I’ve been advertising the past couple of days. (Imagine that!)

Monday, March 16, 2015
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Madison Public Library – Sequoya Branch
Meeting rooms A and B
4340 Tokay Boulevard

People from all districts can attend.

I live in Fitchburg, as did at least one other person there. Someone came from Whitewater. We were all heard equally.

If you aren’t comfortable speaking, you can silently register in support of your cause.

Just as at county board hearings, you fill out a sheet indicating whether you are in support or against, and whether you want to speak. For this hearing, there was an additional line to write what part of the bill you’re for/against. I sat next to a board member who chose not to speak, but wrote down the UW open records exemption as what she was against. At least one other Alliance member was there and did the same. It’s a great way to get your voice heard without speaking, and to bring attention to specific items.

You can come any time during the session and still register to speak.

I got to the library around 4:15, and the doors opened just slightly before 5. When we first started the session, there were 8 people signed up to speak. By my count, 21 people spoke before the night was through.

The people who speak are not polished speakers.

This surprised me, actually. There was one speaker who really knew how to deliver a speech – the Reverend Jerry Hancock. A majority of the 21 (13 people, by my count) went up there without any notes at all. People were encouraged to sign up to speak if they were motivated to do so later in the session, and at least one person took them up on it. (His impromptu speech was the best. “It’s really terrible they’re cutting all this money from Elder Care. Everybody grows old. In fact, there are a lot of old people in this room!”)

If you’re a woman (cis or trans), under 45, or a person of color, your voice is woefully underrepresented.

All the attendees and speakers were white (that is, they passed for white). Less than a third of the speakers were women (as identified by gender presentation and name). There were maybe three people my age, and three people in their 30 and 40s. Everyone else was significantly older. On average, it was the older white man show. When this board member and I first sat down, she turned to me and said “We are definitely the youngest people in the room.”

As a side note, the Alliance can learn something from this demographic inequality.

My mother is a member of MOSES, an interfaith coalition that works to lower the prison population in Wisconsin. Their work directly affects people of color, but their board and membership is largely white. They were discussing this as the last meeting, and what one person said has really stuck with me since. (Paraphrased below)

“We wonder why we mostly have financially stable white people at our meetings, and yet we don’t offer transportation, childcare, or a free meal.

The hearing offered none of those things. One of the speakers was a woman with developmental disabilities whose paid transportation had been taken away, so she had to pay a cab to even come to the meeting. I didn’t see any young children in the room. There weren’t any snacks. In addition, it started at 5, a time when many people are at work.

I found it really inspiring to see democracy in action.

There were somewhere between 60 – 80 people in that room, and we were a family. Senator Risser and Representative Berceau spoke kindly and candidly, we cheered each other on, and each issue that speakers brought up was thoughtfully considered. 65 people registered, all (according to Berceau) against the budget. I was amazed at the turnout – as was Berceau, who told us at the beginning, “I didn’t even expect a third of these people!” – and I was really moved by the positive energy, even in the midst of sharing grievances. It really felt like we were all in this together.

I truly believe my testimony made a difference.

I spoke solely about the open records issue. My speech was short and straightforward:

I encourage you to speak to the Joint Finance Committee about removing the UW open records exemption that reads:

“The bill creates an exception to the open records law for information produced or collected by or for UWSA faculty or staff with respect to commercial, scientific, or technical research until that information is publicly disseminated or patented.”

Such an exception has nothing to do with finance, and such an action limits the transparency of the university to the tax paying public. As an animal lover and as someone who believes in the Wisconsin idea, this concerns me. Wisconsin deserves more from our public university and from our local government.

Representative Berceau responded immediately afterwards. She turned to Sen. Risser and said that every year, they make a movement for all the policy (non fiscal) items to be taken out of the bill and addressed separately. She and Fred agreed that they would make a note to do so when they convened again. She also said “Unless I’m just dreaming policy items, we’ve seen this one before.”

I really felt heard.

You can make a difference a number of ways, and just one of those ways is by attending these hearings.

Senator Risser told us that he believes the pendulum will swing the other way for politics in Wisconsin, but that we have to do our part. There are three things he suggested doing, all of which, he mentioned, cost no money.

1. Thank the officials in government who are doing a good job. I’m putting this into practice by writing out thank you cards today to both officials that say the following:

Dear Sen/Rep,

Thank you for leading such a positive, open, and thoughtful listening session at Sequoya Library on Monday, March 16th. It was my first time attending such a session, and I was inspired to see democracy in action. Sen. Risser mentioned that one thing we can do to improve the political landscape in Wisconsin is to thank our officials who are doing a great job. I really want to thank you both for being so passionate about what is right, being a voice for the people, and continuing to stick it out in a currently very toxic government body. When I spoke about the UW open records request, I really felt heard, and I know a lot of other speakers felt the same way. I feel so grateful to have you fighting for us. I will continue to share my voice with my representatives, and I will encourage my peers to do the same.

2. If you know someone living in the Joint Finance Committee members’ districts, ask them to contact their representative. I’m uploading a couple of files, and one is a document with a list of the JFC members and a map of their districts.

3. Encourage people to get involved. Less than 50% of Wisconsinites vote. There are definitely structural inequalities in place, such as having voting on a Tuesday rather than a weekend, but there are also people in all of our lives who could vote and who could get a little more involved in politics.


From the hearing:

Budget Timeline (pdf)

Joint Finance Districts (pdf)

Joint Finance Members and Contact (pdf)

From the Alliance:

How to Find Your County Board Supervisor and District in Six Easy Steps (pdf)

Tips for writing your legislator (webpage)

Information on the open records exemption (blog)

Budget Bill 2015 Listening Sessions (blog) including a link to the wonderful AFSCME list (google doc)

Budget Bill 2015 Listening Sessions

AFSCME has collected a fantastic list of the upcoming listening sessions taking place around the state. I’ve added some additional dates below the picture. Please attend the ones you can and express your disapproval of the UW open records exemption. If your representative’s session has already passed, see our legislators page to find their contact information and email them.


Monday, March 16

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Madison Public Library – Sequoya Branch

Meeting rooms A and B

4340 Tokay Boulevard, Madison Wi

Senator Fred Risser and Representative Terese Berceau

Wednesday, March 25

Reps. Joan Ballweg, Republican, who represents Wisconsin Dells, Lake Delton, Dell Prairie, New Haven and Springville;

Dave Considine, Democrat, who represents Newport, Delton, Baraboo and Portage; Edward Brooks, Republican, who represents Dellona, Lyndon and Reedsburg. (source)

6:30 pm

Kilborn Public Library – Community Room

620 Elm St, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Please email alliance@allanimals.org with further updates. To learn more about the proposed UW exemption, read our suggested articles.

Let’s Meet March 26th For The Monkeys And The Beagles


The Isthmus and the Wisconsin State Journal both just ran articles about testing on animals, and it’s clear that Wisconsin is ready for action.

Mark your calendars for March 26th, 7 – 8 pm at the Lakeview Library, 2845 N Sherman Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53704. (We’ll send an e-alert out later today with other dates for the month.)

Here’s the plan:

7:00 – 7:30 Discuss Kalin actions, possible collaborations with other groups, sign up for continued action and fundraising teams

7:30 – 7:35 Quick meet and greet, snacks (?!!!)

7:35 – 8:00 Town hall meeting about Ridglan and the beagles. Ask any questions you want, propose any ideas you have.

If you missed the articles,

Noah Phillips’ Beagles bred at two Dane County facilities go to labs around the country

David Wahlberg’s Controversial UW Madison monkey study won’t remove newborns from mothers

RSVP to our facebook event, and contact alliance@allanimals.org if you need a ride or can give a ride.

See you there!

#ThrowbackThursday: When Animal Rights Was Mainstream

Don’t believe me? Read on to see media from the 1983 Mobilization for Animals Rally, which 3,500 – 4,000 people attended on the UW campus, and which happened concurrently with 18 other rallies at primate centers around the world.

It happened once, and we can make it happen again. People care about this issue. They just have to learn about it first.

Thank you to long-time volunteer Ann for bringing this to my attention and to former Alliance co-director Rick Bogle for providing additional documentation of the event. Rick’s Primate Freedom blog is the best chronicle of anti-vivisection efforts in Madison and beyond, and you can learn a lot from spending an afternoon there.

A speech given by Dr. Charles Magel, Professor of Philosophy, Moorhead State at the 1983 Mobilization for Animals Rally. On April 24, over 3500 people assembled at Library Mall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Rallies and Demonstrations were held simultaneously in 18 cities around the world… Atlanta, Boston, Davis and at other primate research and breeding centers in England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand & Australia.

This rare historical raw footage (some never before seen) was videotaped at the library mall. See the entire video here: http://youtu.be/3AI5o2E9rLo

Read the article that accompanies the startling photo above. Credit to Primate Freedom. My favorite part is this:

Dean Rowland drove 7% hours in a van from Bowling Green, Ohio, and brought his friendly white dog Shucka along. Rowland, who is active in animal rights activities, said he had heard about scientists who cut the vocal chords out of experimental animals to keep them from crying.

“If they want to test something for humans, test it on humans, that’s what I say,” Rowland said

People care about testing on primates, and with Kalin’s experiments, we have a renewed chance to bring that awareness to the public. Share the information with everyone you know, as well as actions to take to stop the experiments.

If you want to get involved with the Alliance’s anti-vivisection efforts, come learn more at the Volunteer Info Fest and Appreciation. Food will be provided by donations from Willy St Co-Op, Bunky’s, Brown Rice and Honey, and Ian’s. The raffle prize is a gift certificate from Kneaded Relief.

Alliance Volunteer Info Fest and Appreciation
February 21, 2014
Madison Central Library, Room 302
201 West Mifflin St
1:00 – 3:00 pm

Holiday Guide to Vegan Treats (for Wisconsinites)

Holiday Bake Sale in Appleton, WI, Dec 12 – 13

THIS WEEKEND, check out the Fox Valley Vegan Bake Sale‘s Holiday Bake Sale! All information and pictures are courtesy of the organizer, Anna:

Friday, Dec 12, 5 –  8 pm AND Saturday, Dec 13, 10 am – 1 pm

At The Free Market, located at 734 W. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton, WI

All proceeds go to two very deserving organizations – Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary and Sea Shepherd.

Picture credit to Fox Valley Vegan Bake Sale: https://www.facebook.com/foxvalleyveganbakesale

Picture credit to Fox Valley Vegan Bake Sale: https://www.facebook.com/foxvalleyveganbakesale

Vegan Holiday Treats Exchange in Madison, WI, Dec 21

The weekend after that, the Madison Unitarian Plant Based Eating Group is having a Vegan Holiday Treats Exchange!

Here are the details from the organizer, Sara:

Sunday, December 21 from 12:30-1:00 pm (after the 11am service) in Courtyard Room C. Bring two dozen vegan treats (24) and a container to carry your treats home – leave with a varied holiday plate of delicious treats to bring to your holiday gatherings or hoard for yourself! Questions? Please contact Sara sandrewsbibliophile@gmail.com 608-957-2392

You do not have to attend services or be a member of the Unitarian Society to participate in this event.

Directions and parking:  http://fusmadison.org/directions

Thanks, Anna and Sara, for letting us know! Hope that many of you can make it to these two delicious events!

Silent Vigil for the Kalin Monkeys Tomorrow

From Ann and Leslie:

It is supposed to be a balmy 40 degrees on Thursday. If you could come to the event 30-minutes before it is scheduled to start, I will bring our signs and we can stand in front of the building until the panel discussion is set to begin.  We also have some wonderful flyers from ALDF that we can give to those attending the discussion.

If you cannot attend the panel discussion itself but have time to stop by for the 30-minute vigil, please do.

The more of us who show our continuing opposition to these experiments, the better.

A generous sponsor has offered to cover rides, so call 608-255-1234 & mention the Vigil to get a free cab ride there & back!  Rides available from 5:30 – 10 pm.
Read below for more information on IACUCS and animal research.

Photo credit to Animal Legal Defense Fund.

1. The questionable protocol that led to approval of the Kalin maternal deprivation experiment.
2. More on the experiment from former Alliance co-director and fierce primate advocate, Rick Bogle:

3. Here are 2 excellent analyses of IACUC committees.

Nov 6, 2012 Institutional animal care and use committees need greater ethical diversity  -Lawrence Arthur Hansen

Animals 20122(1), 68-75; doi:10.3390/ani2010068 Analysis of Animal Research Ethics Committee Membership at American Institutions, Lawrence A. Hansen 1, Justin R. Goodman 2,3,* and Alka Chandna http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/2/1/68/htm

Thanks to Leslie for organizing the vigil and to Ann for all the links!

Thursday, Dec 11th 2014: Ask your questions about IACUCs and more!

A message from our anti-vivisection chair, Leslie:

A Rare Opportunity to Question the Biases and Conflicts of Interest Inherent in the Approval and Oversight of Animal Research

Many of you are aware that the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture regarding the process used (abused?) by the University of Wisconsin when it approved Ned Kalin’s maternal deprivation experiments.  On Thursday, December 11, the UW Madison will host a presentation regarding the procedure used to approve animal research and the legal mandates and limitations of that process.  The panel (composed of UW faculty/employees) will address the following questions and will also take questions from the audience:

How are research protocols involving animals reviewed and approved?
Who is on the review committees?
How often are labs and facilities inspected, and by whom?
What are the legal and regulatory standards for animal research?

Panel members:

  • Eric Sandgren, Director of UW-Madison’s Research Animal Resources Center
  • Craig Berridge, Chair of the UW Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee
  • Dreux Watermolen: Non-affiliated Members of the UW Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee

Time and Location:

7:00pm – 9:00pm
Thursday, December 11, 2014
1111 Biotechnology Auditorium
UW Biotechnology Center
425 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706

Parking available in Lot 20 (1390 University Ave.), Lot 17 (1525 Engineering Dr.), and under Union South (enter at 1320 W. Dayton St.).

Here is a campus map that you can use to locate the the UW Biotechnology Center and nearby parking:   http://map.wisc.edu/

UW surrenders more images from the Tom Yin Lab.

Sound Localization Images

Released to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Below is a series of images released in July 2013 to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) under Wisconsin’s open records law. The images, from a procedure performed in 2009, show a surgical procedure to place a cochlear implant into a cat, the subject of a hearing study. Earlier images were used by PETA, an organization that objects to the use of all animal models in research, to misrepresent the clinical and technological value of the work, as well as the treatment and condition of the animals used in the study. We are posting the images to preempt their misuse and continued mischaracterization of a study that has demonstrated clinical and technological benefit for humans. Read the university’s full article here.

See too:  More images from the Yin Lab.

Full Version – Monkey experiment debate | HLNtv.com

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is facing criticism for controversial experiments involving Rhesus monkeys.  In these experiments, baby monkeys are separated from their mothers after birth and later subjected to tests to provoke fear and anxiety. The monkeys are then killed so that their brains can be dissected and studied.

Jane Velez-Mitchell moderated a first of its kind debate on these maternal deprivation experiments. Eric Sandgren, Director of the Research and Animal Resources Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Rick Bogle of Madison, Wisconsin’s Alliance for Animalswho organized a campaign to stop these experiments, debated both sides of the argument.  Those opposed to the experiments have started the site UWnotinourname.org.

Monkey experiment debate | HLNtv.com.