April 24, 2005
Brandon Kawecki, 25, wiped the sweat off his face as he removed the head of his furry pink pig costume Saturday afternoon.
"It’s a small discomfort to get the message out," he said as members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other activists protested a proposed experiment of using stun guns on pigs injected with cocaine.
About 15 people holding signs reading "Pigs are loving animals not science" and "Stop Cruel Tests" stood outside Taser International’s annual conference at the Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains.
A $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will be paying for the experiments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but a company spokesman said Taser International is not involved in them.
"We’re hoping to stop some of the experiments they have planned," said Leila Sleiman, 22, a PETA activist and an Arizona State University student.
She pointed out that Scottsdale-based Taser International, which sells the electrically charged stun weapons, has used dogs and pigs in past experiments even if they aren’t conducting any testing now.
"You can’t compare a human on drugs that’s scared to a four-legged animal that’s been anesthetized," she said.
Steve Tuttle, a Taser spokesman, said he is not aware of any tests conducted since the end of 2003, and he said the previous experiments followed protocol.
"It is standard for pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies to use dogs and pigs," he said.
The controversial lessthan-lethal weapons have contributed to the deaths of about 100 people in the United States and Canada, according to an Amnesty International report.