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CRT Marches in NYC Halloween Parade to Call Attention to "FrankenScience"

On October 31st, 1999, activists from the Campaign for Responsible Transplantation (CRT), including several drama students from the prestigious Juilliard School, marched in New York City’s annual Halloween Parade to call attention to the dangers of xenotransplantation.

A 15-foot-tall puppet of a mad scientist, created by Theresa Linnihan of the Puppeteer’s Cooperative, and operated by five people, stood high above the crowds and attracted plenty of attention (photo). Curious onlookers and parade participants stared up in awe at CRT’s menacing giant puppet, which clutched a pig-human creature in one hand and donned a dollar-sign ($) tie-clip. A dozen “hybrid attendants," wearing pig snouts and signs around their necks warning of contagious viruses, danced about, mingled with onlookers, and distributed thousands of flyers (photo). Others carried a banner displaying the slogan “FrankenScience is Here.” (photo)

CRT’s interactions with the public during the parade confirmed that a majority of Americans seem to know little or nothing about xenotransplantation; those who learned about it were either repulsed or frightened by the idea of transplanting animal parts into humans.

Theater and puppetry proved to be effective (and creative) tools to educate the public about this issue.

An estimated 1.5 million people attended the parade, and another 2 million saw it on local television.

All photos ©Shawn Baldwin

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