Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” has written a poignant (and, as usual, entertaining) article on the new release of Free the Animals, Ingrid Newkirk’s celebrated book that “tells the riveting, real-life story of the people who put on disguises, use fake IDs, or jimmy their way into laboratories in order to carry out the daring rescues of animals used in experiments and of the insiders, the whistleblowers, who risk their jobs to help them.”
One of those rescues involved Britches, an infant macaque monkey who had his eyes stitched closed and some kind of electrical box put on his head in a really lame and truly bizarre experiment. When PETA released photographs of Britches with his eyelids sewn shut, it was a PR nightmare for his tormentors, who switched to doing more benign things — not as benign as, say, knitting, but at least they stopped using baby monkeys.
Maher discusses the progress that has been made since the book was first published twenty years ago, and the work that is still to be done.
Which brings us to something else that’s changed since the book was first released: the widespread awareness that writing letters to your member of Congress isn’t enough and that bold action is needed to get animals out of laboratories, where dogs and rabbits are treated as though they were pieces of lab equipment. That’s something that the surprisingly normal members of the Animal Liberation Front discovered and is discussed in Free the Animals