Rise Against aims its lyrics at fighting injustice, and drummer Brandon Barnes takes that cause to heart. When he learned that his alma mater, the University of Colorado (CU)–Boulder, was having students perform cruel and crude classroom experiments on animals (with some of the animals fully conscious), he tried to drum up some compassion.
Students in biology and psychology classes at CU-Boulder cut off frogs’ heads and experiment on the animals’ muscles, skin, and nerves. They force terrified rats to swim through water mazes and cut open living rats to apply drugs to their exposed, beating hearts. When Brandon learned about the experiments from PETA, he was horrified and sent an urgent appeal to Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
Treating other sensitive, intelligent beings like disposable laboratory equipment is wrong, and—although I was a business and music major at CU-Boulder—I know that there must be better ways to teach undergraduates than by having them needlessly torment, maim, and kill hundreds of animals. In fact, apparently even CU’s campus in Denver, where I grew up, does not include any experiments on live animals in similar courses. I understand that experts such as CU-Boulder emeritus biology professor Dr. Marc Bekoff have provided your faculty members with information on interactive computer simulations and other humane methods available to teach students—a growing majority of whom now oppose animal testing—without hurting animals.
Join Brandon in urging CU-Boulder to implement the same humane, non-animal teaching methods that are already in use at schools across the country.