• Activist locked to excavator to be charged with criminal sabotage

    By: KIRO 7 STAFF

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Two animal rights activists climbed to the top of an excavator at the construction site for an animal research facility at the University of Washington early Monday.

    Quick Facts:

    • Animal rights activists protesting building of UW animal science lab
    • One activist chained to excavator
    • They plan to stay up as long as possible to block construction
    • Protests have been ongoing since the project began

    One of the two activists was locked to the hydraulic lift at the top of the piece of heavy equipment since about 4:30 a.m.  where he hung a banner reading, “You will not build this lab."

    The project is being built at the intersection of Northeast Pacific Street and 15th Avenue in Seattle.

    Police were at the scene to ensure the protesters were OK.

    Activists say the action is part of an ongoing international effort to stop the construction of the Animal Research and Care Facility.

    The protesters said they planned to stay on the excavator as long as they can to block construction. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Monday, a crew helped them to ground level.

    The two were booked into King County jail and will be charged with criminal sabatoge, according to a UW news release.

    "The UW understands that the protesters do not want us to build the facility, and we know they hold this view passionately. However, this building is needed and construction will proceed," the statement said."

    A news release from the activists said the facility will increase the number of animals that the university can use and kill in research by thousands.

    The campaign is pressuring the UW, construction manager Skanska USA, and excavation subcontractor Northwest Construction to stop all plans to continue building the facility.

    Hundreds of protesters recently met at the UW for a march through campus and the streets of Seattle.

    “These animals feel pain, they feel fear, and their lives are spent confined in cages or as tools in cruel experiments,” saidOliver McCaughran, the activist locked to the excavator. “Animals are not commodities; they are not for our use. I cannot stand by in silence and allow the abuse of innocent lives to continue. This lab cannot be built.” 

    The university is spending about $120 million to build the lab that will be used for research for livesaving medications.

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