Ron Dellums was a Marine, a mayor, and a member of Congress for 13 terms, but to animals and their advocates, he was a hero.
He was fearless in opposing injustice, from apartheid to the Vietnam War, and he was way ahead of nearly everyone else in Congress when, in 1992, he called for a halt to animal experimentation in the military. We remembered him last year when the U.S. Coast Guard switched from animals to simulators and declared an end to shooting, stabbing, and killing goats and pigs in training exercises.
While chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Dellums directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of every military experiment involving animals. Prompted by “disturbing questions about the necessity, ethical propriety, oversight and quality of the military’s experiments on animals,” he pushed the military to promote non-animal testing.
RIP Ron Dellums. In 1992 he called on the military to stop using animals. He fiercely objected to it all.
“If it’s radical to oppose racism & sexism & all other forms of oppression, then I’m proud to be called a radical.” pic.twitter.com/ocF0EMqEjV
— Ingrid Newkirk (@IngridNewkirk) July 31, 2018
During one hearing in 1992, Dellums commented:
“I was just sitting here listening, and I was trying to take out the term ‘animal rights movement’ and put in ‘civil rights movement’ or ‘peace movement.’ … I was part of the peace movement and part of the civil rights movement. You know what we heard? ‘The majority of people don’t support you.’ … I would imagine that at one point … the majority of people would have said, ‘We agree [the world] is flat.’ That did not make it right.”
He was a person of integrity, honor, and vision. He will be missed.