February 7th was a busy day for Smash HLS activists. We visited four protest targets each located in a different city. The day’s action began at Primate Products in Doral, Florida. Police were there when we arrived. With megaphones and other sound amplifiers we loudly expressed our condemnation of PPI’s perverse primate torture and their key involvement in the importation of primates for use in cruel and indefensible experiments. John Resuta, Operations Manager, made an appearance outside. The crowd quickly approached him in order to explain to him the vileness of his employment. After a police officer warned us that he was “going to start making arrests”, we moved on to our next protest target.
Our next stop was the Barbados Embassy in Coral Gables. Each year, on the islands of St. Kitts & Nevis and Barbados, hundreds of green (vervet) monkeys are torn from their families and forest homes and either exported directly for biomedical research or imprisoned on farms to produce offspring to be exported to laboratories in the U.S. and around the world. We were at the embassy to urge Colin Mayers, Consul General, to take a stand against the international primate trade. Leaflets were delivered to his office’s penthouse suite. Within minutes, police arrived on the scene of our protest, advising us to stop using megaphones. Although the demonstration quieted down at that point, many passers-by were educated on the issue through our leaflets.
Our third stop was the downtown Miami HQ of H.I.G. Capital. This private investment firm owns two-thirds of Amerijet and, thus, has real say in ending the monkey flights. Although we hoped to make it to their 31st floor office in order to talk to them about their economic ties to animal abuse, security was tight. We never made it into the building. We did demonstrate loudly outside while security vigilantly kept their eyes on us. One way or another, many people heard the echo of the megaphones relating the shame of H.I.G.
Our final stop was the HQ of Amerijet in Fort Lauderdale. For two hours, the crowd of protesters expressed their hatred for what the company does. We were loud, we were energetic. So, Amerijet turned on their sprinklers full blast. As childish as this is, Amerijet did it. The water only drove the protesters back into the street, unfortunately, causing confusion for cars driving by. We outreached to Amerijet employees, showed them pictures of Primate Products’ mutilated primates, and urged them to take a stand against the cruelty. The climax of this protest was when we found David Bassett, President and CEO, sitting in his office. We all could see him through the ground-floor window. Quickly we converged, chanting vigorously and pointing. David Bassett, a man who makes nearly half a million dollars a year, stands up and shuts all his shades in shame. This was a great end to a great day of action!
Hide your heads in shame, monkey killers! We’ll be back!!