A Florida animal rights activist who's fresh off a stint in prison has a new target in her sights -- the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. The organization tosses around millions of dollars a year, and some of that money has landed at the University of Florida.
That's where Camille Marino comes in.
The woman from Wildwood, in Central Florida, is a longtime, hard-core activist. She's the founder of Negotiation Is Over, a group that has blasted animal researchers online, hiking the rhetoric up to the point of threatening to "use industrial pliers to crack" a researcher's testicles. Such threats landed Marino in prison for six months.
Now, Marino's new group, Eleventh Hour for Animals, is aggravating an old target, UF. Last week, the group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against the university for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, based on information Marino received from a public records request.
Eleventh Hour's blog explains that UF researchers were trying to determine whether "a drug called doxycycline will penetrate the blood/brain barrier in primates."
The blog goes on: "Against this back drop of admitted junk science, for which they cannot get funding elsewhere, and which has absolutely no therapeutic application for humans whatsoever, the Michael J. Fox Foundation wrote UF a blank check to go find and torture six innocent macaques. According to the plan, they would be turned into drug addicts by repeatedly being given ever-increasing doses of ketamine and other tranquilizing agents, they would be poisoned with doxycycline, they would have a sterotactic ring affixed to their little skulls, a virus cocktail would be injected into their brains, they would live with brain damage, injuries, and in torment, and, eventually, all six would be murdered before their eighth birthdays."
"Michael J. Fox walks in with a blank check," Marino says. "The simple fact is they're torturing monkeys to death for money. If people saw what they do, they would be unable to do business."
Not so, says the school. "This is the second complaint [Marino's group has] filed in the last two months," says UF's Janine Sikes. When federal inspectors came to the campus to investigate the complaint, they found no violations, Sikes says.
"The issue is we have untrained individuals misinterpreting veterinary reports," she adds. "UF is subject to very stringent federal laws and inspections."
As for Marino, Sikes says: "We believe she fully has the right to hold UF accountable for what happens in our research labs. She totally takes it beyond that. This is one more example of harassment."
The activist says she plans to release more material and file more complaints as early as later this month. She is also leading protests in Gainesville. "This is going to be going on indefinitely until the monkey the program down."
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.