Animal Aid

Animal rights group to challenge monkey experiments in court

Posted 21 December 2007

New undercover video footage once again exposes the appalling abuse to which animals are subjected in government-sanctioned research laboratories. Although filmed in Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, equivalent ‘procedures’ are carried out in Britain and other ‘advanced’ facilities around the world.

The investigation, by animal rights group Let the Animals Live, shows monkeys and cats undergoing invasive brain research. The monkeys are housed singly in cages and subjected to four years of experiments involving two operations on their brains and sculls. Laboratory workers are filmed forcefully removing the unwilling macaque monkeys from their cages and immediately confining them to devices, in which they are immobilised for up to eight hours a day. During this time, they face a punishing and extreme training regimen, where they are forced to observe a screen and perform repetitive tasks. Their only reward will be a few drops of water. To ensure compliance, the animals are kept in a constant state of thirst, except on weekends.

Israeli law states that an animal experiment shall not be performed if the objective of the study can be achieved by the use of non-animal methods. Let the Animals Live will bring the matter before the Israeli courts, where they will argue that non-invasive methods developed for human medicine could indeed have been used instead of the cats and monkeys.

Although conducted in Israel, the research is reported to have links to Germany, Denmark, the US and Oxford University, in terms of scientific support or funding. It is claimed that an Oxford University vet provided advice on housing and on the thirst regimen for the primates. In September, a clear majority of MEPs declared their opposition to all primate research. They voted in favour of an EU Written Declaration calling for a ban on the use of Great Apes (such as chimpanzees) and all wild-caught primates in experiments, and a phase-out of experiments on all monkeys.

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