AIDS Group to Act Up at Animal-Rights Event: Issue of Research for Cure Splits Longtime Allies

Article excerpt

AIDS research activists plan to take on animal-rights advocates today in a clash between groups that have traditionally attracted support from many of the same people.

AIDS activists, including ACT UP Washington, are battling People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals over the group's opposition to animal testing for AIDS research.

When PETA and other animal-rights activists arrive today for five days of World Animal Awareness Week events, ACT UP plans to be there to greet them.

ACT UP spokesman Steve Michael said his group will block the entrance at USAir Arena as animal-rights activists arrive for a morning meeting.

"We're blocking them like they blocked AIDS research," he said.

World Animal Awareness Week starts with the World Congress for Animals at USAir Arena today and ends Monday with a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill.

ACT UP members plan to chant and protest at a celebrity gala and auction Saturday night at the Renaissance Hotel on Ninth Street NW.

Mr. Michael said PETA respects animal life more than human life and is standing in the way of research.

"PETA is doing damage to things that matter to people," Mr. Michael said. "If you're for animal rights, you're against AIDS research. You have to have animal research in order to find a cure for AIDS."

Peter Gerard, executive director of the National Alliance for Animals, organizers of the week's events, said AIDS research and animal rights go hand in hand.

"We want a cure for AIDS just as much as anyone does, we just don't believe using animals is a necessary part of finding it," he said.

The alliance contends that ACT UP is "leading people down a blind alley" by saying animals are required for AIDS research. AIDS patients are willing to volunteer for experiments, Mr. …