Activists protesting UW animal lab come down from excavator

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington says two animal rights activists who climbed to the top of an excavator at a construction site to protest the building of an animal research facility have come down with assistance from the Seattle Fire Department.

University spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Monday evening that the two were being booked into the King County Jail.

They climbed onto the excavator Monday morning, unfurling a banner that read, "You will not build this lab."

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

In a statement, the university said it "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."

According to a release issued by the activists, the move to lock themselves to the equipment is part of an "international effort" to stop the construction of new animal research sites.

If built, the activists said, it will expand the number of animals killed in the name of research "by thousands."  The campaign is pressuring UW, the activists said, construction manager Skanska USA, and excavation subcontractor Northwest Construction to terminate all plans to continue building the ARCF.

According to the activists, the UW "uses and kills thousands of animals" each year, even though multiple other animal labs throughout the world have been shutting down due to public pressure.

"These animals feel pain, they feel fear, and their lives are spent confined in cages or as tools in cruel experiments," Oliver McCaughran, one of the activists chained to the equipment, said.