This Student Helped PETA Thwart Funding for Texas Primate Lab

Published by Elena Waldman.

It takes a village to raise hell against powerful institutions. Just ask Mariah Smith, a Students Opposing Speciesism (SOS) organizer who helped PETA and local residents achieve a major victory against Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed)—home of the Southwest National Primate Research Center—through grassroots organizing in her community.

For her resilient work in keeping pressure on Texas Biomed—which led to the withdrawal of its request for local public funding to support the cruel monkey laboratory—PETA is awarding Mariah with our Hero to Animals Award.

To stand up for the animals suffering in Texas Biomed’s laboratories, Mariah spoke during public comment sessions during two bond committee meetings and rallied San Antonio residents to contact their city council members to oppose funding Texas Biomed.

Mariah also pressured city council members on social media to state their position, and District 2 Council Member Jalen McKee-Rodriguez even publicly posted his opposition on Instagram Stories. Mariah also organized a protest with local animal rights group Texas Animal Freedom Fighters outside a bond committee meeting.

And thanks to her hard work—along with support from San Antonio residents—Texas Biomed withdrew its request for $11 million from the taxpayer-funded San Antonio bond program. It sends a strong message to all the national primate research centers that residents don’t want their tax dollars to be used for cruel and useless experiments on our fellow animals.

Here’s How You Can Be a Hero to Animals

If you’re a young activist inspired by Mariah’s story, join SOS and help PETA win more victories like this one:

You can also help by urging the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to shut down all of its primate research centers:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind