Feminist icon Gloria Steinem made a strong statement this week on behalf of the primates who suffer in Covance Inc.’s drug-testing laboratories. When Steinem found out that Covance was listed as a sponsor at a fundraising event that she’s attending in Madison, Wisconsin, she asked that the company be immediately disassociated from the event. Her offices issued the following statement:
“Gloria Steinem expressed her severe discomfort at participating at an event for [a local human services agency] sponsored by Covance after she was alerted to the fact that thousands of animals suffer in the Covance laboratories. She stated, ‘Animal abuse is so connected to domestic abuse — literally in a household, but societally in a more general way, too.’ Using one’s power to harm others is contrary to Ms. Steinem’s life’s work and Covance was dropped as a sponsor for the event.”
What I love about this story is not just the big black eye to Covance’s PR machine in Madison (where the company has a high profile due to its massive animal-experimentation lab outside the city), but the fact that Steinem explicitly puts animal rights in the wider context of social justice. She situates the issue, as it should be, alongside the broader issue of fighting the oppressive mentality that companies like Covance share with domestic abusers or any perpetrators of violence who believe that “might makes right.”
Hopefully, this will be food for thought for all the people who comment on this blog wondering why animal rights people don’t do more to fight other forms of oppression. The point is that people who care about animal rights, like Gloria Steinem, just have a better view of the big picture. Injustice and violence needs to be stamped out wherever it crops up—and no matter who the victims are.