Wednesday, August 20, 2008

AR2008: Vivisection

In a session on "Vivisection Campaigns" Matt Rossell from In Defense of Animals described his two years working as a lab tech at a primate research center. He says he documented violations but was ignored, so he went to IDA and saw some changes. Now, though, the center has more monkeys than before.

Rossell talked about seeing baby monkeys snatched from their mothers' cages. He said all 100 monkeys in the room would go crazy, and they'd stick their arms out of the cages in a futile attempt to retrieve the babies.

He said researcher Elliott Spindel injected pregnant monkeys with nicotine and then dissected the babies in his fetal nicotine research. He found that vitamin C helps the babies (although certainly dissection doesn't), but that finding was already discovered in other studies.

Rossell said we lag behind Europe in alternatives to animal testing. Although someone said (I wrote down that it was him, but it may have been Camille Hankins) that they don't like the term "alternative methods" because it implies that animal research works, but it doesn't. Researchers are trying to use monkeys to explain divorce or to cure diseases that monkeys don't even get.

He also said that in most states cruelty laws don't apply to medical research. The National Institutes of Health are in charge of enforcing standards for federal labs, they they own the labs.

He said pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in keeping people sick. They aren't preventing diseases by promoting healthy eating.

George Guimaraes of VEDDAS in Brazil expects U.S. and European labs to move to Brazil because of its more lax laws.

Camille Hankins of W.A.R. said that companies, including Procter & Gamble, are fighting alternatives to animal research, in part because it's easier to manipulate data with animal studies. Researchers don't have to report the results of tests that don't go in their favor. If this happens, they can simply study a different species or manipulate the dose until a study goes the way they want it to.

An audience member suggested that vivisectors don't want to change they ways they operate because that's what they know.

(Image courtesy of In Defense of Animals.)


Lisa J. said...

Just like those who work in slaughterhouses, I often wonder about the people who carry out these experiments. Are they totally numb to what they are doing? It's mindboggling that these people are highly intelligent and yet can carry out these cruel choices...

Tracy H. said...

I agree. In a way the experimenters are worse because they have the education to work in a different type of industry.