Friday, February 11, 2005

Lab monkeys 'scream with fear' in tests


GEE, REALLY?!! Monkeys also feel pain? Duh?

Lab monkeys 'scream with fear' in tests

Sandra Laville
Tuesday February 8, 2005
The Guardian

Secret documents describing how some monkeys can scream in misery, fear
and anger during experiments were produced in the high court yesterday
as evidence that the laws intended to protect laboratory animals are
being flouted.
Excerpts from Cambridge University internal papers - one of several
sites where primate research is carried out - give laboratory
technicians and scientists advice on how to deal with problems during
and after experiments. Presented in court by the British Union for the
Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), they describe occasions when primates
are "screaming, trying to get out of the box, defecating", and state:
"This is an angry animal."

Scientists and technicians are advised in the documents to "punish" the
bad habits of the monkeys, stating that these bad habits include the
normal self-grooming.

Richard Drabble QC, for the BUAV, told the high court yesterday that
the

documents contradict the general public perception that animals are
well

cared for and protected under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act
1986.

Making an application for judicial review of the legality of lab
practices, he also alleged that brain-damaged monkeys at Cambridge were
not provided with the 24-hour veterinary care which the government's
own

guidance states is necessary.

David Thomas, the solicitor for BUAV, said: "Cambridge staff work
9-5pm,

so animals who had just been brain damaged were left overnight without
veterinary attention.

"Some were found to be dead in the morning, some were found to be in a
worse condition. Yet there is an obligation of licence holders to keep
suffering to a minimum. The whole system is very secretive and the
public does not get to see what is really going on."

The court challenge comes after the government's chief inspector of
animals dismissed the findings of a 10-month undercover investigation
by

BUAV into three research programmes at Cambridge in 1998. BUAV claimed
they discovered monkeys which had the tops of their heads sawn off in
order for a stroke to be induced and were then left for 15 hours
without

veterinary attention.

But the court heard that after reviewing the licence to Cambridge for
the three programmes, and some of the other 4,000 testing licences
granted in England and Wales, the chief inspector of animals gave a
clean bill of health to all establishments.

For the home secretary, Jonathan Swift said the application for a
judicial review should be dismissed. He said the chief inspector of
animals had concluded that the decisions taken each time the licences
were granted had been sound and the home secretary had accepted these
findings.

Mr Swift said the granting of licences was case-specific and highly
fact-sensitive. The home secretary had to "weigh the likely adverse
effects on the animals concerned against the benefit likely to accrue
as

a result of the programme".

The three programmes Cambridge was carrying out involved research into
degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

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