Born in Austria, Lise Giraud came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Nazis. She
married Raymond Giraud in 1948 as he was pursuing his Masters and Ph.D. at Yale. Lise was studying Librarian Science. The couple moved to Stanford in 1958, when Ray joined the faculty. Lise acquired a position in the Stanford library system, where she eventually became a principal librarian.
Starting in the early 1960s, the couple became vocal critics of U.S. government policies in Vietnam and elsewhere. They actively supported various student protest movements at Stanford during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the nascent union movement there.
In later years, they both worked for human rights in other countries. Over the course of the 1990s and early 2000, they traveled to Haiti on several occasions to witness elections and otherwise support the democratic movements there. Their home in Palo Alto was often a gathering place for events marking various human-rights activities. They also devoted much of their time to animal-rights initiatives, picketing circuses and rodeos in protest of cruel treatment toward animals.
In 1983, Raymond Giraud became lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Peninsula Humane Society on behalf of a dog named Snowball, who had been severely neglected after being used for surgical practice by Stanford students at a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Palo Alto. Dismissed when the court ruled that Giraud and the others lacked “standing” to intervene, the case helped to alert framers of intended animal protection legislation to the importance of including clauses enabling animal advocates to bring cases on behalf of animals.
In the late 1980s, federal authorities were investigating several arson cases involving research labs and meat companies. Lise was interviewed for an article on this issue, published in The New York Times on January 19, 1988, and titled, "Growing Militancy for Animal Rights is Seen:"
Lise Giraud, a director of the Humane Society in Palo Alto, who has been involved in legal attempts to halt the construction of a new animal research facility at Stanford University, said that while she did not know the arsonists, she could ''fully understand'' the motive of protesting the treatment of animals.
In 1994, the Presidio General Management Plan was under discussion. One proposal was by UCSF to establish a program called Letterman Army Institute for Research (LAIR) in the Presidio. Here’s what Lise had to say about that proposal:
Statment of Lisa Giraud—In Defence of Animals
Thank you. My name is Lise Giraud and I live at 2200 Byron Street in Palo Alto.
I am co-director of education for In Defense of Animals, which is a national organization of some 65,000 members. I wrote down my remarks in the interest of staying within my three minutes, so I will be reading them.
When I ﬁrst came to California thirty-six years ago and drove through the Presidio, I thought it was one of the loveliest spots I had ever seen. I always thought it incongruous that it should have been devoted to the service of war when its beauty and situation had so clearly destined it for life and for joy.
Now that it has a chance of coming into its own, I feel greatly disturbed at the prospect of making it host to an activity that in its own way would cast a pall on all that surrounds it. I am speaking of animal research.
There has been a powerful thrust by the University of California at San Francisco, UCSF, to take over LAIR, Letterman Army Institute for Research. So far it seems UCSF may be the only contender that has both the money and the political support to succeed in this. And it has a strong desire, having been rejected in its plans for expansion to neighborhoods. In other words, to places where people live.
I believe that the same reasons that have kept UCSF out of areas where people live should also keep it out of a national park. Or at least if not UCSF itself, the kind of research that has aroused objections elsewhere motive of protesting the treatment of animals.”
In 1999, Ray and Lise were given the Humanitarians of the Year Award by the Marin Humane Society.
Lise Giraud, 84, died on August 13, 2008.
Growing Militancy for Animal Rights is Seen (The New York Times,
Archives 1988) Click here to view article.
"Statement of Lise Giraud in defense of animals", Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco Presidio, Volume 3 page 206: Click here to view statement.