"Between the nights of April 9 and April 10, we broke into the Small animal Laboratory and the Dog Kennel at W.B. Saul High School in Roxborough, Philadelphia. We removed a total of 47 animals - 44 small animals (some of which were indeed being tested upon in lab experiments), and 4 beagle puppies being raised by students training to be future vivisectors. In total, we removed: four beagle puppies, two chinchillas, one ferret, 26 gerbils, three hamsters, nine rats, and two mice. All of the animals were taken to new homes where they will be loved and cared for - not experimented upon and not the training fodder for would-be vivisector. They will also not be put to death when their usefulness as an "educational tool" is through. While there, we also took photographs of several cruelties towards livestock animals - including a barn full of cows chained by their necks to small stalls, where they are not even able to turn around, and two young veal calves confined by themselves in small cages.
W.B. Saul High School is the Philadelphia school system's only agricultural high school. In addition to standard subjects, students are taught such courses as "Small Animal Technology", "Meat Science" and "Beef and Sheep Science". Describing the "Small Animal Technology" course, Saul's website states "this course is designed to give students a working knowledge of the laboratory animal (and other) industries. Students are instructed in the care, maintenance, and training of common laboratory... animals. Students will be prepared for entry-level positions in the laboratory animal industry, pet industry, animal breeding industry..." Saul high school students 'train' at raising beagle puppies because beagles - who are submissive, loyal, and non-aggressive - are often used in laboratory experiments. Examples of experiments with beagles include force-feeding them weed killer, pesticides, and household detergents via a tube forced down their throat, or injecting these substances directly into their bloodstream. Other experimenters have injected fetal beagles with cancer cells, drilled toxic substances into the brains of beagles, and conducted various experimental surgeries on their bodies. Standard side-effects for these puppies include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, tremors, and destruction of vital organs. Any beagles which manage to survive the cruel experiments are killed at the end of the study. Other animals - such as mice, guinea pigs, rats, chinchillas, etc. - fare no better.
It is disgusting that high school students are being indoctrinated into an industry as cruel and destructive as the vivisection industry. To teach students that its okay to torture animals - be they gerbils, puppies, or any other - for our own benefit or "education" is repulsive. While the school may claim that the students love the animals - which they may - they are training the students for careers in an industry which commits horrific cruelties against animals. Additionally, it is quite certain that: a) all of the animals came from breeders, known for their cruel treatment of animals and their contribution to the vivisection industry; b) most of the animals will be killed when their usefulness as a teaching tool expires; and c) the animals spend the vast majority of their time isolated in tiny cages. For example, the beagles spent every night in a dark shed, on hard cement floors, separated from their brothers and sisters. Now, they will enjoy the love of a family, constant affection, and the ability to run around in the sunshine as often as they please. Additionally, the small animals will no longer have such cruelties as having holes punched in their ears (which we photographed at Saul), being confined to extremely small cages, and having absolutely NO enrichment or play materials in their cages.
Saul's treatment of livestock animals was horrible as well. While we were unable to remove any of those animals and take them to safety, we did take several photographs of blatant animal cruelty to share with the public. In one barnyard, nearly two dozen cows sat listlessly, their necks chained to their stalls. The chain is so short that all these cows are even able to do is stand up and sit down - they cannot even turn around. Their excrement falls behind them into pits that run out of the building. This is the only life they know.
Several hundred yards from the barn, two young calves are confined in individual igloo-and-cage structures where they too are unable to turn around. Such structures are used by many farmers for raising "veal" (baby claves kept on an anemic diet to make their skin soft and loose before they are slaughtered) - which is exactly what Saul High School is doing. As its website boasts, in Meat Sciences classes "students are given an in-depth study of the meat industry and its products. Included are beef, pork, veal, lamb, and poultry." While standing near the young calves, we heard them crying out for their mothers repeatedly, as calves often do when separated and lonely. Those calves will never see their mothers - they will remain caged until they are slaughtered, so that students can learn the best way to cut up a young animal, or slice its flesh for the market. Polls show that over 70% of Americans oppose such farming practices as the raising of veal calves, and the cramped confinement of cows or other animals - yet W.B. Saul High School continues to teach students this "science" of cruelty.
Unfortunately, it is nearly inevitable that the high school teaches such factory farming and vivisection industry cruelties - after all, they receive millions of dollars in funding from agribusiness corporations and universities which make their money off of such inhumane practices. While other Philadelphia schools are struggling to buy books, W.B. Saul enjoys a $4.8 million dollar budget in exchange for teaching animal cruelty as part of the curriculum.
W.B. Saul High School should end its Laboratory Animal and Meat Science programs, and stop persuading teenagers that torturing animals is nothing more than a career choice. If they do not, further actions will be taken against them to stop their corrupting influence, and to stop the suffering they are inflicting on living, emotional creatures."