Thursday, January 12, 2006

Animal rights group disagrees with [University of Pittsburghs] primate-testing policy

“Infants who are weaned early or socially isolated are usually less adaptable and show higher levels of abnormal stereotyped behavior,” the letter said. - Of course this is true.

Animal rights group disagrees with Pitt's primate-testing policy

http://www.pittnews.com/vnews/display.v/
ART/2006/01/12/43c5ef0eea415

JENNIFER MACASEK
Staff Writer
January 12, 2006

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contacted the University last week asking them to stop research that entails separating baby monkeys from their parents before they are weaned.

The letter targeted the work of Associate Professor Dr. Judy Cameron, who studies levels of stress due to separation. In order to comply with PETA’s request, Cameron would have to completely discontinue her research.

According to the letter, International Primatological Society guidelines state that infants younger than 18 months old should not be artificially weaned from their mothers.

“Infants who are weaned early or socially isolated are usually less adaptable and show higher levels of abnormal stereotyped behavior,” the letter said.

Dr. Deborah Durham, a primatologist and spokesperson for PETA, explained the dangers of such research.

“[Monkeys separated before 18 months] are at a higher rate for self-mutilation. They will poke themselves in the eye or pull out their hair,” she said. “We’re more worried about long-term effects.”

A statement from the University said, “Research using animal models has and continues to play an important role in understanding and developing treatments for diseases.”

The protested research methods, though, are not illegal.

According to Pitt’s statement, Dr. Cameron’s research and all other animal use is “prospectively reviewed and overseen by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee” to make sure scientists follow all applicable laws and regulations.

Dr. Cameron was unavailable for comment.

Though PETA recently filed the complaint, they became interested in the issue when Dr. Cameron presented her research at a neuroscience convention in November.

“It’s been a process of putting together the pieces and then asking Pitt to stop it from happening anymore,” Durham said.

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