Animals from across the nation and all over the evolutionary tree gathered Tuesday outside the National Institute of Health's main campus in Bethesda, Maryland to protest what they consider to be unfairly small juice rewards.
Many hoisted homemade signs voicing their dissent with phrases like "Release the Juice" and "Thirsty for Change."
A spokesbat for the Union of Scientific Research Animals said the organization is calling for an across-the-board increase in juice wages.
"All we're asking is that the payment matches the job," said BYF9254, a mouse. "If I'm going to bust my ass in the lab all day solving maze after confusing maze, I want a little more than a single measly cracker or a drop of juice."
The union has issued an ultimatum demanding "at least three drops of juice per trial, and maybe one of those tasty sugar treats." The animals have threatened to stop doing their tasks altogether if their demands are not met.
The protest comes in the wake of a series of rumors last month about research organizations' higher management receiving large juice bonuses.
"If the masters would just give us some-I'm talking a tiny fraction here-of the juice they keep for themselves, then I wouldn't have to worry that I'll go thirsty if I make a few incorrect responses to some stimuli," said Bubbles, a rhesus monkey.
But Associate Professor Lewis Marett of Duke University maintains that the animals are barking up the wrong tree, biting the hand that feeds, or some other relevant idiom.
"The juice scandal has been blown out of proportion. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. The executives get to drink fresh orange juice all day because that's how valuable they are," Marett said. "I work in the lab five days a week and what do I get for it? Not more than a few Capri Suns. That's just the way it is. Everyone wants juice."
But the animals insist that their work is indispensable.
"We know the world needs us. Someone's got to push the button every time the green octagon appears. You just let me know when you find one of them fancy suit-and-tie executives who's willing to do the dirty work with the green octagons!" said a rat.
Some questioned whether the pay raise would make much difference.
"Sometimes I feel like it's all just a cruel experiment, you know?" said Rabbit 16, a rabbit. "No point to it, like there's someone who just wants to see how much we can take, see how long we'll keep at it, like someone's judging us the whole time. And I sure hope it won't be this way until we die, because right now it's the same thing every day, gotta watch the screen, gotta press those buttons, and at the end all we get is a little juice, a little fruit. It's enough to make a fella ask himself, is there anything more than this?"
He paused: "Ah, don't listen to me though, I'm just stressed by this whole strike thing, probably a little paranoid."
Rabbit 16 was then lured out of his cage with a piece of pomegranate so that experimenters could crack open his skull and insert recording electrodes into his brain.