From Southern California activists:
For No New Animal Lab’s Fracture Their Finances Week of Action against Skanska, SoCal activists and Progress for Science took to the open air three times to protest the construction of a new animal lab for the University of Washington. We began on a quiet note, gathering on the patio of one of our supporters and, as LA went thru her lovely shadings into a crisp beautiful evening, wrote letters to both political prisoners – our comrades behind bars - and to executives at the misguided investment firms who are sinking their money into Skanska. We asked these men in suits to listen to both their reason (bad science - bad investment) and their own PR seeing as their company spiel states, “Skanska aims to be the industry leader in Ethics.” Surely they would agree that supporting animal torture falls way outside of that framework. As the darkness grew complete we went into the house to meet with our host’s ratties, six adorable little reminders of why we were there.
Next, the BlackRock office in downtown Los Angeles received a visit from activists Thursday morning demanding that they cut their investments in Skanska. This is not the first time BlackRock has been opposed by the animal rights movement, as they have a history of investing in companies tied to animal testing and abuse. About two dozen activists showed up with megaphones, signs, literature, and a banner reading “BlackRock Invests In Animal Abuse”. Chants carrying the message that 'BlackRock has blood on its hands” could be heard echoing throughout the patio, sidewalk, streets and up the side of the building. It was apparent that BlackRock has taken extra efforts to shield itself from protests with specially gated off areas making all the entrances to the building private, for card-carrying building occupants only. Quite an imposition, we imagine, to all the folks who work and do business there! A highlight of the protest was when one of our number gave a leaflet to a man who turned out to work at a competing investment firm across the street. He was shocked that BR would be involved in such a thing and was also thrilled because they could use that in their own company’s propaganda – they are a company that holds a higher moral ground than that awful BR which helps fund animal torture.
Last but not least, Mike Aparicio was also visited by over a dozen activists on Saturday morning. This time he was not present and his daughter - ignoring the fact that there was a car in their driveway with a Skanska sticker - tried to convince us that he no longer lives there. However she did not deter activists from educating his neighbors about his involvement in the construction of an animal torture facility for UW by his company, Skanska. As an executive vice president for Skanksa, Mike has the power to influence his company to make the moral decision to cut its contract with UW and not build them a new underground lab. Chants exposed Skanska's greedy contract and encouraged neighbors to stand with the campaign and talk to Mike about making the right choice. The demo was met with some interest in the campaign, one neighbor clapped for us, saying she was glad we were doing something to help animals. On the other hand another neighbor, bothered by the noise as he mowed his lawn, was a bit irate at our expression of free speech and asked if we supported Trump. Huh? The passel of police who showed up were understanding of what we were doing – an opposite reaction to the first home demo we did at that address - and did not attempt to shut it down. Skanska, the clock is ticking and it is time that you finally abandon this project that will increase the number of animals subjected to cruel experimentation. We will never back down, until you stop the killing!