A Friday protest outside the California National Primate Research Center meant to mark World Animal Liberation Week drew about 10 protesters and lasted less than an hour.
The police activity outside the center, located behind barbed wire at Hutchison Drive and County Road 98, contributed to a minor vehicle accident that occurred shortly before the noon start time for the protest, along Road 98, according to the California Highway Patrol.
According to Officer Joelle McChesney, the driver of a Chrysler PT Cruiser traveling southbound believed oncoming traffic was being stopped in the area and turned left to head eastbound on Hutchinson Drive — into the path of a northbound Honda Pilot, which collided with the PT Cruiser.
Both drivers sustained minor injuries, and the driver of the Honda was transported to Woodland Memorial Hospital for treatment, McChesney said.
Friday’s protest came just after the 30th anniversary of simultaneous protests in 18 cities — including Davis — on the April 25, 1983, that drew thousands of people and is considered the birth of the animal rights movement.
A year later, on April 24, 1984, 15 people were arrested for blocking the Davis center’s entrance. Protests took a dark turn in May of that year when the center’s director and assistant directors found outside their homes ticking packages allegedly left by the radical group the Animal Liberation Front.
In April 1987, an arson fire caused $5 million in damage to a UC Davis lab. No one was prosecuted for the crime, though the letters “ALF” were found spray-painted at the scene. A decade later, ALF claimed responsibility for a fire set at another UCD lab.
Last week, animal rights protesters celebrated Harvard Medical School’s announced plans to close its 51-year-old primate research lab in 2015. Though the lab has previously been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for monkey deaths there, Harvard said that the decision was a financial one.
Harvard’s lab employed about 200 people and was home to approximately 2,000 monkeys, which will be relocated to other facilities. A UCD spokesman said last week that there were no plans to ship any of the Harvard facilities monkeys to Davis.
The USDA cited the Davis primate center in 2009 and 2010 for monkey deaths, but it chose not to levy a fine because of improvements made in its animal care, according to the university. The USDA last fined the center in 2005.
The center employs about 400 people and boasts an annual budget of more than $30 million. Its research targets include HIV/AIDS, asthma, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. Covering about 300 acres, the center houses approximately 5,000 animals.
— Enterprise staff writer Lauren Keene contributed to this report.