BCSPCA Urged to Seize Monkeys Disabled at UBC

Veterinary expert says experiments so debilitating monkeys cannot move normally, have problems with balance and coordination, cannot feed themselves properly, have tremors and periods of rigidity of their bodies, and loss of ability to perform normal gestures that are forms of communication between individuals


VANCOUVER, BC – Today, Stop UBC Animal Research urged the BCSPCA to use its authority to immediately seize 14 macaque monkeys currently used in cruel experiments at the University of British Columbia (UBC). STOP called on the BCSPCA to intervene after discovering that four of 18 monkeys used in brain research at UBC had been killed because the animals had been so severely disabled by the experiments. In a letter to the BCSPCA, Stop UBC Animal Research said it was so concerned about the remaining 14 monkeys that the BCSPCA needed to act swiftly to help the animals.

 

“Given your organization’s role as BC’s protector of animals, we believe you must intervene now to safeguard these monkeys,” Stop UBC Animal Research wrote in its letter to the BCSPCA. “It is clear the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act allows your Special Provincial Constable to intercede whenever an animal is found in distress. We believe the condition of the 14 monkeys at UBC warrants your urgent action.”


The monkeys are part of an ongoing study by UBC Department of Neurology’s Dr. Doris Doudet. According to Dr. Doudet’s published paper, Abnormal metabolic brain networks in a nonhuman primate model of parkinsonism” in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, four monkeys were killed because they had become so debilitated by the experiments. This week, the UBYSSEY newspaper confirmed the Doudet experiment is continuing with the other monkeys still involved.


Last week, Stop UBC Animal Research filed formal complaints to government officials about the Doudet monkey experiments and called on agencies to halt funding of UBC’s Brain Research Centre, where Dr. Doudet’s invasive procedures are conducted, until an investigation is completed. The experiments involve damaging the brains of monkeys through poisoning with the neurotoxin MPTP.

 

“The abnormalities caused by the MPTP result in considerable disability for the monkeys. The monkeys are not able to move normally, have problems with balance and coordination, cannot feed themselves properly, have tremors and periods of rigidity of their bodies and loss of ability to perform normal gestures that are forms of communication between individuals. Although we cannot be certain what is going through the minds of these monkeys as they lose their ability to control their bodies, it has to be extremely frightening for them,” said veterinary expert, Dr. Nedim Buyukmichi, Emeritus Professor, University of California-Davis, who reviewed Dr. Doudet’s research.


“The same monkey may undergo numerous scientific procedures over many years,” said Anne Birthistle, Research Investigation Director for Stop UBC Animal Research. “At least one of the monkeys in this current experiment was an infant at the project’s start and, if not killed for the harvesting of brain tissue, is certain to be recycled into further torment for the rest of the animal’s life.”


Dr. Doudet also has a history of administering electroconvulsive shock to monkeys to induce seizures. For this, monkeys were given only a sedative and a drug to paralyze them. There was no mention of pain relief in her studies. Since the sedated monkeys would not be completely unconscious, the animals may have been capable of feeling pain and terror.


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CONTACT: Anne Birthistle, 6604-551-3324. Ms. Birthistle can also provide summaries of UBC’s primate experiments, as well as Stop UBC Animal Research’s letter to the BCSPCA