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Councillors vote 8-2 to ban animal testing; Marchese and Smith vote against

Animal Advocates (1)-2
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  City councillors voted 8-2 to ban animal testing in the city during Monday’s City Council meeting at City Hall.

  Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins said the ordinance states that they don’t want any testing of animals in the city. “By broad, it covers all animals, and that’s what our residents have asked of us,” Martins said. “I work for the people, not big corporations.”

  She emphasized that the city can still bring in technology companies and labs that make substances without testing on animals.

  “Are we money driven, or is it about our values and defending animals?” Martins asked. Martins said that if it doesn’t pass, they would allow experimenters to burn, poison, starve, inflict brain damage, restrain, shock, mutilate and do other distressing procedures to them.

  Martins made a motion to strike the description of ‘research institution,’ and she recommended favorable action, as amended.

  Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Smith referred the motion to the Mayor’s Office.

  Martins said she finds it ironic that some council members selectively want to hear from the mayor on certain things. “We have the power to make decisions – yes or no,” Martins said. “It will go to the Mayor’s Office eventually.”

  Smith called for the question.

  Ward 3 Councillor Darren Costa, who canvassed his residents, speaking on the motion to refer to the Mayor’s Office, said he doesn’t want to be responding to someone testing on primates. “That keeps me up at night,” Costa said. “But people have spoken – they don’t want it.”

  Smith again called for the question. Councillor-at-Large Richard Dell Isola asked the purpose of sending it to the Mayor’s Office. Smith then rescinded her motion for favorable action, as amended by Martins. City Council President John Hanlon warned of cross debating between members.

  Smith said she got confirmation from the city solicitor that she doesn’t have a conflict of interest, so she will vote on it. She and Marchese voted no on the motion. A round of applause from audience members followed the vote.

  After the vote, Salem Saves Animals Foundation Founder Laurie Stathopoulos, who has donated approximately $100,000 over the years to save Everett’s animals, said she is happy to see that the majority of the council are kind people. “You can still build a bio lab without animal testing,” Stathopoulos said. “I will contact the ethics board about Smith, who I believe is affiliated with a bio lab.”

  During public comment, Stathopoulos said they stick needles in rabbits’ eyes, among other cruel acts. “You’ve always shown kindness to animals,” Stathopoulos said during public comment. “All we need is for one mouse to get out of a lab, and we could have a whole new strand of COVID-19.”

  Katy Rogers, who spoke publicly several times against animal testing, said she is proud of the results tonight – that Everett is maintaining its reputation as a cruelty-free city.

  Her mother, Patti Rogers, said 70 percent of bio labs do not use animal testing. “We aren’t against bio labs, just against animal testing,” Patti Rogers said. “We’re a cruelty-free city.”

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