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Animal Rights Activists Win One, Lose One

June 11, 1986

Undated (AP) _ Animal rights activists opposed to the sale of stray animals to laboratories won a ban in Jacksonville, Fla., but lost a bid to stop the practice in Los Angeles County.

Jacksonville City Council members voted 14-5 Tuesday to no longer permit cats and dogs from its pound to be used for experimentation. But a motion for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to order a halt to sales of impounded animals to laboratories failed to win a second.

The failure to win a second prompted an angry reaction from the crowd of 450 people, most of whom favored the measure.

The Jacksonville vote was denounced by officials from the University of Florida, which until recently got animals from the city pound to use in experiments.

″Oh, I’m upset,″ said university Vice President Al Alsobrook. ″Of course it’s a black eye for us. When a person in the audience comes up to us and says, ‘You sadistic pig, you got what you deserve,’ of course it hurts. We’re not sadistic.″

Controversy over the use of stray animals arose after one university researcher proposed suspending cats from their legs to test the effects of space flight on bones and another proposed the near-drowning of dogs to test methods of saving drowning victims.

″I’m just so excited. I can’t even tell you how happy I am,″ said Marjorie Angelo, the head of Balance Inc., a city group that had lobbied to keep pound animals from being sent to the university in Gainesville.

Council member Sylvia Thibault said she proposed the bill against sending animals from the pound for research after intense lobbying from animal rights’ groups.

″This whole thing started because I was sick and tired of them ... lobbying. The more I listened and the more I looked into the faces of those people, I knew it was coming from their hearts,″ she said.

But Alsobrook said the city’s vote went against people’s desires for medical research to cure diseases.

″They want good health and they want good research and they want a cure for cancer but they don’t want pound animals from Jacksonville used,″ he said.

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