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Of all the horror stories Research labs create more cruelty than any others.

Non-human primates (NHPs) are used in toxicology tests.They are caught in the wild, taken from zoos, circuses and animal trainers, or purpose-bred. Around 65,000 NHPs are used each year in the United States and European Union. Most of the NHPs used are macaques., but marmosets, spider monkeys, and squirrel monkeys are also used, and baboons and chimpanzees are used in the U.S; there are currently around 1,500 chimpanzees in U.S. research laboratories.

Felines are most commonly used in neurological research. In the UK in 2005, 308 cats were used. This is a decrease from 819 cats recorded in 2004 According to the USDA, over 25,500 felines were used in the USA in 2000, of these around half were reported to have been used in experiments that caused "pain and/or distress".


Xenotransplantation involves transplanting living cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another. Current research involves primarily using primates as the recipient of pig hearts. The U.S. FDA has written that the research is "driven by the fact that the demand for human organs for clinical transplantation far exceeds the supply." The British Home Office released figures in 1999 showing that 270 monkeys had been used in xeno research in the UK during the previous four years. In 1999, three baboons and 79 cynomolgus monkeys were used.

Medical journalists Jenny Bryan and John Clare have called xenotransplatation experiments "some of the most grisly procedures carried out anywhere in the name of science." They write that: "They do sometimes involve a full transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into a monkey. In some cases, however, the doctors will graft the transgenic hearts onto a baboon's neck arteries, as this allows them to observe the way the pig heart behaves in another species, and monitor the rejection process. The operation is carried out under general anaesthetic and the baboon is humanely killed afterwards. These measures, however, do not pacify animal rights campaigners, who say the experiments are cruel and unnecessary."

Cosmetics testing is particularly controversial. It is banned in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK, and in 2002, after 13 years of discussion, the European Union (EU) agreed to phase in a near-total ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics throughout the EU from 2009, and to ban all cosmetics-related animal testing. France, which is home to the world's largest cosmetics company, L'Oreal, has protested the proposed ban by lodging a case at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, asking that the ban be quashed. The ban is also opposed by the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients, which represents 70 companies in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.

Huntingdon Life Sciences

In 1997, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filmed staff inside a British laboratory owned by Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), Europe's largest animal-testing facility, hitting puppies, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples. The employees were dismissed and prosecuted, and HLS's licence to perform animal experiments was revoked for six months. Footage shot inside HLS in the U.S. appeared to show technicians dissecting a live monkey. HLS obtained a restraining order that prohibited PETA from distributing the footage, although other sources are free to publish it. The broadcast of the undercover footage on British television in 1997 triggered the formation of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty.



In 2004, German journalist Friedrich Mülln was hired as a operative to shoot undercover footage of staff in Covance, Münster, Europe's largest primate-testing center, making monkeys dance in time to blaring pop music, handling them roughly, and screaming at them. The monkeys were kept isolated in small wire cages with little or no natural light, no environmental enrichment, and high noise levels from staff shouting and playing the radioA lawsuit by Covance placed an injunction on Mülln from distributing the footage he shot; the same material remains accessible on the web at sites outside jurisdiction of the court.

Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall described the living conditions of the monkeys as "horrendous," and told BUAV that to see them "crazed with boredom, and sadness probably, is deeply, deeply disturbing." Primatologist Stephen Brend told BUAV that using monkeys in such a stressed state is "bad science" and trying to extrapolate useful data in such circumstances is an "untenable proposition." PETA stated they found similar conditions in Covance's Vienna, Virginia lab during an undercover investigation in 2004-5. Covance sued PETA and their undercover operative as a result of the Vienna operation, and obtained a restraining order preventing the operative from performing any further undercover work for three years, and forced PETA and their operative to turn over all materials they obtained documenting conditions at Covance. PETA is further prevented from attempting to infiltrate Covance for five years.

University of Cambridge

Internal documents from the University of Cambridge's primate-testing labs showed that monkeys had undergone surgery to induce a stroke, and were then left alone after the procedure for 15 hours overnight, with no veterinary care, because staff only worked from nine to five. The BUAV judicial challenge followed a 10-month undercover investigation by BUAV into three research programmes at Cambridge in 1998. BUAV's lawyer, David Thomas, told the court: "The whole system is very secretive and the public does not get to see what is really going on."

The experiments involved the use of hundreds of macaque monkeys, who were deliberately brain damaged for the purpose of research into strokes and Parkinson's disease. The macaques were first trained to perform behavioral and cognitive tasks. Researchers then caused brain damage either by removing parts of the macaque's brains or by injecting toxins. The monkeys were then re-tested to determine how the damage had affected their skills. They were deprived of food and water to encourage them to perform the tasks, with water being withheld for 22 out of every 24 hours.

University of California, Riverside


Britches, as the Animal Liberation Front say they found him.

One of the best-known cases of alleged abuse involved Britches, a macaque monkey born in 1985 into a breeding colony at the University of California, Riverside, removed from his mother at birth, and left alone and tethered, with his eyelids sewn shut, as part of a sight-deprivation experiment.

Britches was removed from the laboratory when he was five weeks old during a raid by the Animal Liberation Front, along with 700 other animals. The university criticized the ALF, claiming that damage to the monkey's eyelids, allegedly caused by the sutures, had in fact been caused by an ALF veterinarian who examined the monkey after the raid and wrote a report. The experiment was condemned by the American Council for the Blind.

The photograph of Britches on the right is taken from a video made by the ALF during the raid, and later released as a short film by PETA. The university said that the monitoring device attached to the monkey's head had been tampered with by activists before the photograph was taken.

Columbia University

According to CNN, a post-doctoral "whistleblowing" veterinarian at Columbia University approached the university's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee about experiments being carried out by an assistant professor of neurosurgery, E. Sander Connolly. Connolly was allegedly causing an approximation of strokes in baboons by removing their left eyeballs and using the empty eye sockets to reach a critical blood vessel to their brains. A clamp was placed on this blood vessel until the stroke was induced, after which Connolly would attempt to treat the condition with an experimental drug. In a letter to the National Institutes of Health, PETA described one experiment: "On September 19, 2001, baboon B777's left eye was removed, and a stroke was induced. The next morning, it was noted that the animal could not sit up, that he was leaning over, and that he could not eat. That evening, the baboon was still slouched over and was offered food but couldn't chew. On September 21, 2001, the record shows that the baboon was 'awake, but no movement, can't eat (chew), vomited in the a.m.' With no further notation about consulting with a veterinarian, the record reads, 'At 1:30 p.m. the animal died in the cage.'"

In a letter to PETA, neurologist Robert S. Hoffman stated that he regards such experiments to be a "blind alley," and that the baboons are "kept alive for either three or ten days after experiencing a major stroke and in a condition of profound disability. This is obviously as terrifying for animals as it is for humans unless one believes that animals are incapable of terror or other emotional distress"

A USDA investigation of the Columbia baboons found "no indication that the experiments...violated federal guidelines." Further, the Dean of Research at Columbia's School of Medicine noted that Connolly stopped the experiments because of threats from animal rights activists, despite the fact that Connolly "remained convinced that his experiments were humane and potentially valuable."

University of California, Los Angeles

In 2006, animal rights activists forced a primate researcher at UCLA to shut down the experiments in his lab. The researcher's name, phone number, and address were posted on the website of the UCLA Primate Freedom Project, along with a description of his research, which stated that he had "received a grant to kill 30 macaque monkeys for vision experiments. Each monkey is first paralyzed, then used for a single session that lasts up to 120 hours, and finally killed." Demonstrations were held in front of the professor's home. A Molotov cocktail was placed on the porch of what was believed to be the home of another UCLA primate researcher. Instead, it was accidentally left on the porch of an elderly woman unrelated to the university. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack. As a result of the campaign, the researcher sent an email to the Primate Freedom Project stating "you win," and "please don't bother my family anymore." In another incident at UCLA in June 2007, the Animal Liberation Brigade placed a bomb under the car of a UCLA children's ophthalmologist, who experiments on cats and rhesus monkeys; the bomb had a faulty fuse and did not detonate. UCLA is now refusing Freedom of Information Act requests for animal medical records.

Opponents of animal testing

Opponents argue that:

  • The suffering of the animals is excessive in relation to whatever benefits may be reaped. Some opponents, particularly supporters of animal rights, argue further that any benefits to human beings cannot outweigh the suffering of the animals, and that human beings have no moral right to use individual animals in ways that do not benefit that individual.

  • In practice, there is widespread abuse of animals.

  • Animals do not consent to being tested upon.

  • Animal testing is bad science because:

  • Many animal models of disease are induced and cannot be compared to the human disease. For example, although genetic and toxin-mediated animal models are now widely used to model Parkinson's disease, they argue that these models only superficially resemble the disease symptoms, without the same time course or cellular pathology.

  • Some drugs have dangerous side-effects that were not predicted by animal models. Thalidomide is often used as an example of this.

 Thanks to Wikipedia

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