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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Protesters slam Yale’s use of primates

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:47 AM EDT
By Pamela McLoughlin, Register Staff

Members of the group PETA unfurled a banner downtown Thursday afternoon that said, “Yale Murders Monkeys,” referring to primates the university uses in medical research, then spent an hour peacefully making their point outside Yale University’s Psychiatry Department on George Street.

But not too far away in Glastonbury, Barry Williams, who has Parkinson’s Disease, is thankful every day for such research when done ethically because he has benefitted physically and been given hope from drugs that result from such testing.

“We’re so close to cures in a lot of diseases. ... It would be a shame to stop that,” Williams said. “Obviously, we don’t want bad treatment of animals.”

Williams said there is no other way in some cases than to test medications using animals with systems similar to humans.

Tell that to Justin Goodman, research associate supervisor in the Laboratory Investigation Department of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He was among four protesters who unfurled the sign from a Route 34 overpass while wearing monkey masks.

While the group opposes experimentation techniques on many animals, primates were the focus Thursday as it’s National Primate Liberation Week.

Goodman and his group claim there are more than 160 primates in Yale’s laboratories that, in the name of science, are mutilated, injected with poison, forced to become addicted to drugs and confined to steel cages. He said the psychiatry department at Yale does a lot of the experiments with primates, including injecting their brains with toxins to make them schizophrenic.

“It’s morally unjustifiable,” he said. “They have a right to lead their lives. ... They suffer immensely in these labs.”

He said primates are close to humans in many ways, and that PETA knows of the treatment and numbers by reading studies published by Yale researchers.

Goodman said many federal tax dollars go toward the research.

But Yale spokesman Robin Hogen defends the practice, and said all research involving animals at Yale University is done humanely and in keeping with guidelines.

“This is not about animal rights, it’s about human rights,” Hogen said. “The human use of animals in research is more than justified for the benefits to human kind.”

Hogen said virtually all medical advances of the last century would have been impossible without animal research, including creation of antibiotics, blood transfusions, dialysis, organ transplants and nearly every modern treatment to cure disease and control pain.

“Today researchers at Yale are working on new therapies and diagnostic tools for a broad range of terminal diseases including Parkinson’s, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s and Muscular Dystrophy, all of which rely on animal models,” Hogen said. “Our faculty employ animals only when there are no alternative models for advancing their research.”

He said Yale takes seriously its responsibility for humane care of animals and its laboratories comply with or exceed all federal regulations and independent accreditation standards.

Chelsea Rhodes, a part-time administrative assistant at Yale University and co-founder of Yale Affiliates Animal Rights Network, casts her vote for the monkeys.

“As a Yale employee and New Haven resident, I think people are really horrified,” by the research using animals and tens of thousands of dollars spent on the research, she said. “When it comes to these primates, they’re similar to humans in all ways that matter.”   

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