Published: Jan 01, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Dec 31, 2012 12:07 PM
Why the hubbub over UNCs animal research facility in southwest Orange County, and why wont Bingham Township residents just leave it alone?
The answer is all about fairness.
It is not fair that nearby residents werent notified of ongoing site changes that could affect them. It is not fair that records on the UNC propertys history would cost $5,000 to copy. It is not fair that public information had to be laboriously extracted from UNC, or from other sources.
It is not fair that UNC intruded into the lives of people living next door to the facility. Nerve-racking noise and removal of trees shielding institutional buildings forced two neighbors to make the agonizing decision to move. It is not fair that UNC doesnt mind destroying the pursuit of happiness of other Americans.
It is not fair that UNC is so saturated with its privilege of sovereign immunity that it deems itself above the law. Environmental safeguards, building codes and courteous civil conduct are non-issues to UNC. It is not fair that water was degraded in the creek running across the UNC property onto private land and into the Haw River; that noisy infrastructure was placed too close to property lines; and that a local resident expressing concerns during an informational meeting with UNC was interrupted and shouted down by a UNC employee.
It is not fair that Orange County reversed its decision to require a Special Use Permit for no logical reason. It is not fair that UNC and county attorneys were responsible for the reversal. It is not fair that Orange County cannot protect its rural residents. It is not fair that the facilitys neighbors werent allowed to express their concerns to the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
It is not fair that deer are able to jump the fence surrounding the wastewater lagoon and drown in it. It is not fair to the legion of local animal advocates that hundreds of dogs (beagles) are used as research subjects if effective non-animal research methods suggested by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have not been explored. It is not fair if the dogs do not have enough space in their outdoor pens as required in the Animal Welfare Act of 2005 and it is not fair to the neighbors who stayed in their homes that they are still disturbed daily by frantic loud barking.
Incredibly, after inflicting these and more injustices on Bingham Township residents, UNC chose to take the township name for its facility. This name implies approval by the township that does not exist among informed residents. The truth is a facility of this type and size does not belong in the rural countryside with no city water and sewer services. Because it is an unsustainable project it will use up more than its share of natural resources and continue to harm the environment.
Residents who endeavored to protect their homes, land and countryside were only seeking a fair shake. But because fairness is a foreign concept to UNC, they encountered endless obstructions and later were completely stonewalled. The citizens watched in shock as UNC carelessly blundered along, crushing everything in its path without conscience. They were witness to UNCs absolute power and how that power has corrupted UNC absolutely.
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