Category Archives: Animals Used for Research/Testing

Pro-Animal Research Billboard Offers False Choice

As part of a national advertising campaign funded by the Foundation for Biomedical Research to get public support on the side of animal research, these billboards have been placed here in Seattle as well as other cities like LA and Portland. The FBR is a PR division of the National Association for Biomedical Research, of which the University of Washington is a member. The timing of these billboards is interesting, as it seems they were put up to rally citizens to their side in the face of the upcoming World Week for Animals in Laboratories, a week of international rallies and activities to show opposition to the institutions that confine, torture, and kill animals in the name of “science.”

This ad campaign is grossly misleading, as it presents to the public a false dichotomy, an artificial either/or scenario that suggests that animals have to die in order to save humans. Their claim that animals are integral and absolutely necessary to find cures are belied by the fact that there are many medical foundations that are working on cures for diseases without the use animals in their research. In fact, the use of animals prolongs the development of adequate procedures and treatments; animal physiology is different from that of humans’, requiring that humans models be used anyway for a treatment to be ultimately approved. Researchers get more money in grants by conducting animal testing, so there is little incentive for successful results or solid scientific design. Much of the research continues to be funded despite being redundant or inconclusive. And the animals suffer through torturous procedures, poor conditions, and poor treatment, with countless animals dying as a result, and an innumerable amount killed.

Biomedical researchers try to convince us that knowledge gained from animal studies can be extrapolated to humans yet their scientific papers reporting the results of research repeatedly include a disclaimer warning about making such an assumption. The difference in animal and human physiology means that many results of animal experiments are found to be inclusive, not applicable to human modality, or unreliable. The Food & Drug Administration recently reported that of all the drugs that tested safe and effective in animal testing, 92 percent are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans. Even drugs approved by the FDA because it was deemed safe under animal research can prove fatal because not enough adequate human research was conducted; the FDA estimated that 27,785 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths between 1999 and 2003 occurred from the prescription arthritis drug Vioxx before it was recalled. How researchers can claim that animal research saves (human) lives is indicative of their own hubris and ignorance of the real consequences of their research.

Many effective non-animal methods are available, such as such as in-vitro cell and tissue cultures, micro-fluidic circuits, computer modeling, micro-dosing, the use of CAT, MRI, and PET scans, using human cadavers or organs, and clinical research. Extensive studies have to be conducted on humans regardless of the treatment or protocol anyway, so the use of animals can and should be skipped, which would allow the speedier development of treatments among human models.

The billboard also directs people to ResearchSaves.org, which offers an equally offensive command: “Against animal research? Please sign and submit this directive before you get sick or injured in order to insure you receive no medications, surgeries, treatments or disease therapies that have been tested or tried in research animals.

The logic of this imperative relies on the same simplistic reductive binary thinking. Using the same logic, we can then ask people: Against Nazis? Then you can’t drive a Volkswagen Beetle, developed by Hitler’s engineers to be the Jeep of the German army during WWII. Nor can you drive a Ford, who financed the Nazi party and helped secure its start. Nor can you drive a vehicle from General Motors, who by the mid-30s was totally committed to large-scale war production in Germany, producing trucks, tanks & armored cars. Against war and US military aggression? Then you can’t use microwaves, fly in planes that use jet engines, or use the internet, all technologies developed in the theater of war. The price of living in a modern industrialized society is that all of us, regardless of our individual beliefs, benefit from many things that came into existence from actions or institutions that we would otherwise not support. The idea, then, of directing some of us to give up the benefits of modern society without asking the same of themselves is just an example of inflated self-importance.

This is, of course, aside the fact that their claim of the treatments we have now came about because of animal research. It’s more accurate to say that we have as many treatments we have despite animal research. Human testing has always been the last line of research; animals are used initially simply because of economics. And because they are viewed as mere property, conditions to ensure their care are routinely neglected or circumvented, and less stringent oversight is given to invasive procedures. Every day, hundreds of lives are lost in service of projects that have seen no measurable progress; if cures are actually found, foundations, institutions, and researchers would loss valuable grant money. In the most cynical fashion, they sacrifice the lives of animals in pursuit of money, while telling the public that this circular game is necessary, using images of innocent children to win sentimental support.

The real answer to the question “Who would you rather see live?” is quite simple: both.

And it is possible and being proven every day among responsible researchers. Three U.S. agencies aim to end the archaic practice of animal testing, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program and the National Institutes of Health, realizing it is ineffective and wasteful. Non-animal-based research also is more ethical, as it doesn’t have the moral dissonance of taking one life in order to save another. One can only imagine how much further along the road to finding cures we would be if we hadn’t wasted billions of dollars, hours, and lives on animal testing that has proven unreliable or inconclusive. Animal research doesn’t save lives. It won’t save “her,” and we all know what happens to the “rat.”

Cross-posted at UWkillsAnimals.com

9/19 Demo to Oppose Primate Research at the UW

Despite the rainy weather, the Demo to Oppose Primate Research at the UW went forward as planned on Saturday. Armed with 5 signs and 2 banners, I got to the corner of NE Pacific and Montlake just before 11am. I knew that the rain might keep some protesters away, so I found a spot just off of the sidewalk that gave me a good view of people walking by, and made me visible to passersby. While I waited for the other activists to arrive, I held a sign that read “Cruelty is Criminal” above a picture of a monkey looking through cage bars. Plenty of people walking by looked at my sign, and I couldn’t help but think they must have thought it was strange that I was the only one standing there with a sign.

After 15 minutes or so passed, no other activists showed up to join me, and I thought about leaving, but a middle aged man came up to me and said “I support what you are standing up for”. This comment pleasantly surprised me, and the rain had tapered off, so I decided to stick it out. Before too long, another man – a guy some might refer to as looking like a stereotypical football fan – approached me and said that he was glad that I was out there. I had been out there by myself for 30 minutes and the only reactions I had gotten so far were positive ones.

By the time 12:20 rolled around, I had distributed numerous leaflets, had a woman tell me that she worked near the UW’s Primate Research facility on Western, and my sign had been seen by hundreds of people. I truly felt that my time had been well spent, and despite the low turnout for the demo, it had been effective. One person can in fact make a difference.

I’ll be out there for the next UW Husky Football home game, to greet attendees with my sign and information about the horrible research that goes on behind closed doors at the UW. I hope this time others will be able to join me.

Opposing Cruelty: UW Primate Lab Protest 12/17/08

RachelBrave souls withstood the wind and cold to stand up for tortured animals in front of UW’s Regional Primate Research Center at 3010 Western Ave, across from the Olympic Sculpture Park downtown. Chrystie

UW’s Primate Research Center plays a major part in the torture and killing of primates every year. UW researchers have been confirmed in committing widespread violations of animal protection regulations. Michael and Johnny Joseph.

These violations involve studies in which experimenters cut off the tops of monkeys’ skulls, insert electrodes into their brains, and implant wire coils in their eyes. The monkeys are then restrained in experimentation chairs, with their heads bolted in place so that they can’t move while Chrystie, Nitin and Bryanexperimenters track their eye movements.

They are kept hungry or thirsty much of the time so that they’ll comply during tests to get a sip of water or a bite of food.

University Of Washington Primate Center--blue building located at 3010 Western Ave, Seattle

Opposing Cruelty: UW Infant Primate Lab Protests

Bryan and a new monkey friend.

Our protests on 10/18, 11/8 & 11/15/08 seemed more like parties, with such great folks who came out to show people what the University of Washington is doing to baby monkeys in the name of curiosity.

Kelli invites others to show compassion.We realized that with the Husky football homegames there’d be tons of people walking and driving right by UW’s Infant Primate Research Facility at the Magnuson Health Sciences Center.

Shivani & JessicaWith some of us coming all the way from Canada, Olympia, Lake Stevens, Renton and across the Montlake bridge, we gathered at the corner of NE Pacific St & Montlake Blvd. Holding signs depicting UW’s abuse of primates, we were the voices for sentient beings imprisoned in experimenters’ cages. As Jessica put it, “Our protest rocked!”

Afterward we all went out for delicious vegan food at Hillside Quickies, talking while we ate and laughing Shivani rocks the intersection!about Saturday Night Live, ’67 Mustangs, being a vegetarian in the Army in Iraq, and various nonsense and serious subjects alike. Who knew protesting animal cruelty could be this much fun? As one of us said of the day,It was awesome meeting all of you guys and I had a blast for my first animal rights protest!”

UW is the most federally-funded animal research facility in the country, receiving over $270 million last year from NIH. The university holds captive over 16,000 animals, including 3,000 primates.

At the Primate Center, UW researchers cut holes into macaque monkeys’ skulls. Recording cylinders are attached so that electrodes may be fed directly into the brain. The monkeys are then confined to restraint chairs and forced to perform behavioral experiments. Juice or water is often used as a reward in these experiments. To make the experiments more effective the primates are deprived of fluids except when they are performing the experiments.

Bryan & Annie

These experiments have been going on for decades with no conclusive results. In addition, these projects are very similar to one another, potentially duplicating experimental procedures.