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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Animal rights groups protest UT’s research

Action For Animals picket for Primate Liberation Week

Lee Ann Holman Daily Texan Staff
Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Members of an Austin animal advocacy group protested primate research and animal treatment in front of UT’s Seay psychology building Tuesday as part of National Primate Liberation Week.

Timothy Verret, a member of the Austin-based Action For Animals, said UT psychology professor Wilson Geisler and associate psychology professor Eyal Seidemann perform “cruel and barbaric” research with Rhesus monkeys.

“We don’t understand what they’re studying on monkeys that they can’t study on humans,” Verret said. “We just want them to seek alternate means of research and stop wasting taxpayers’ money.”

Attempts made by The Daily Texan to reach Geisler and Seidemann proved unsuccessful. Seidemann’s research interests include “how sensory information and motor commands represented and processed in the brain,” according to the UT neurobiology Web site.

Verret said federal funding by the National Institutes of Health has given UT a combined $5 million to use on five-year programs to experiment on primates.

Glen Otto, director of UT’s Animal Resources Center and a board-certified veterinarian, said his job at the University is to make sure the animal resources department follows rules and regulations set by the government to ensure tax-funded research is legal.

“I pretty strongly feel that the animals here are being treated well,” Otto said. Otto said UT housed a total of 16 primates ­last year — three of them not used for research­­.

All of the animals come from commercial services, companies that breed primates for research. Most of the animals will eventually be euthanized to study their tissue, Otto said.

Amelia Hall, a research assistant in the neurobiology department, said it is very important to experiment on primates to better understand human behavior. Hall said she has seen some of the research methods performed on monkeys, which require sedation and the opening of monkeys’ heads.

The animal group cited a report by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW, an animal watchdog research group from Ohio, showing that primates at UT experience water and food deprivation.

The report said neurological protocols require scientists to monitor the activity of individual neurons in the primate’s brain.

“The preferred methodology for monitoring these individual cells is to literally hardwire into them using micro-electrodes,” the report said. “This procedure requires that the skull of the primate be opened (holes are drilled in the skull) and recording cylinders are attached over the holes through which the micro-electrodes are fed.”   

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