Written by PETA
The Guardian, a U.K.-based newspaper, was recently "granted exclusive and unfettered access" to a super-secret primate testing facility at an undisclosed location and operated by the staff of an undisclosed university. This facility works on marmosets, drilling "tiny" holes in the monkeys' skulls and injecting "minute" amounts of "liquid toxin."
Basically, they—whoever they are—open monkeys' heads up with a drill and pour in some poison. But hey, don't worry about the monkeys—Guardian blogger James Randerson claims they aren't "noticeably affected" by the holes and poison in their heads.
While you can read the whole article here, I would suggest you better spend your time checking out what PETA Europe's Alistair Currie had to say in his response letter:
When James Randerson was shown around a primate laboratory (Report, May 31) did he ask why he was being shown this particular laboratory—and whether his "unfettered" access was the same as seeing what goes on in his absence? Undercover investigations into primate laboratories consistently reveal animal suffering far in excess of what he saw on this official tour, and the research conducted was itself far from typical—most monkeys in the UK are used in pharmaceutical toxicology research. Nor is the attitude of technicians or scientists the point. Whether they are or are not "caring", monkeys don't belong in cages, their brains are not ours to interfere with and this PR exercise was a cynical misrepresentation of a far uglier reality.
And if you're actively searching for a reason to be seriously frustrated for the rest of the day, The Guardian was nice enough to post this audio slideshow in which the tiny monkeys cling to the bars of their cages. Listen closely for the bit about how research staff consider themselves "compassionate professionals"—aren't you curious to know what their definition of a sadist is?
From the category of "No Shit, Sherlock" experiments comes this gem from Yerkes National Primate Research Center. A posse of animal-experimenters, led by vivisector Mark Wilson, has concluded that female monkeys who experience psychological stress will eat excessive amounts of fatty foods.
Really? I wouldn't have guessed that from the way I reach for chocolate peanut-butter brownies instead of broccoli salad when I'm stressed from a looming deadline or a crazy busy schedule. But unlike Yerkes' Wilson, I don't receive grants (read: taxpayer dollars) from the National Institutes of Health to come up with the groundbreaking conclusion that stressed females eat and that the foods we eat when stressed aren't the best for us.
Wilson is right at home at Yerkes, where his coworkers also receive tax dollars up the yin-yang to imprison and abuse monkeys for equally revelatory results. Yerkes' Maria Sanchez removes baby monkeys from their mothers and concludes that the babies become extremely depressed, Stuart Zola has shown that baby monkeys who are taken away from their mothers are more likely to become addicted to drugs, and Michael Davis has proved that motherless monkeys are more prone to feeling fear and anxiety. Your tax dollars hard at work.
What's up PETA Files readers! You may be familiar with our recent University of Washington action alert (made by yours truly, so you know it's a good one). Well, PETA recently threw a demo in regards to this alert causing an attention-grabbing article to come about.
Nearly 100 PETA supporters gathered in front of a University of Washington animal research laboratory last week for a very compelling protest. So compelling, in fact, that it persuaded Seattle-Pi columnist Robert Jamieson Jr. to write this excellent article, comparing the torture that primates go through in labs to the horrors of Abu Ghraib.
Check out the article here and if you haven't yet, please take action on this important campaign here and ask the National Eye Institute to stop funding these cruel experiments at the University of Washington and everywhere.
Hey everyone! Jack's now out of the office for a few days attending a conference in Texas. As I'm sure you dedicated readers know, when Jack takes off then usually the marketing manager Joel hops in to write about something clever. However, Joel is basking in the warm sun of Jamaica as we speak on a well-deserved vacation.
So, you may think another logical person to help write the blog in Jack and Joel's absence would be Amy from the VegCooking blog or Mylie who helps out with KP's Dog Blog … but hey, they're all at that same darn conference with Jack! So, there you have it. Time to pull out all the stops! I may be 5th in line to do this job (just call me PETA Marketing's Secretary of State), but hey, I rock just as hard as those 4 fancy "experienced" blog writers.
When I'm not covering for my 7 co-workers who are out of the office (yes, you read that right), my typical job is PETA's E-Mail Marketing Assistant. Therefore, it's time for some shameless plugs ...
Are you signed up for PETA's E-News?? If you dig animals enough to read this blog, then you absolutely must be sure to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter coordinated by yours truly. Click here to sign up if you haven't already.
Another big part of my job is coordinating PETA's Action Alerts. Be sure to check out this page frequently to get the latest updates and most current action alerts where your voice can be heard and you can take action. We've got everything from speaking out against the ridiculous game of donkey basketball , all the way up to speaking out against horrors witnessed by our undercover investigators at slaughterhouses and other places.
I’m at South by Southwest in Austin this week with some other folks from PETA’s Marketing Department, for the Interactive Media portion of their little festival. ‘Cuz I like to nerd out like that. The idea is that I’ll return an even more cutting-edge and, like, connected blogger than ever before. It’s my intention to learn how to use obnoxious Internet-speak more effectively and maybe spend more time dropping references to XHTML or whatever’s going on with my Twitter page—so you all have that to look forward to if I’m able to make the most of SXSW this week.
Anyway, the point is that my friend Christine will be running the PETA Files in my absence. Unlike some of the other folks who have been filling in for me in recent weeks, Christine is smarter, cooler, and generally more fabulous than I am. She’s like Jack 2.0. So, um, don’t get too attached. I’ll be back Wednesday.
Alistair Currie, the Senior Research and Campaigns Coordinator for PETA UK has an amazing piece in The New Statesman this week about the ethics of animal experimentation. If you’ve got a few minutes, you should definitely check that bad boy out. For some reason, there’s also a poll on the page asking whether “24-hour drinking is bad for society,” but I don’t recommend voting on it. It’s not particularly fulfilling.
Anyway, you can read Alistair’s great piece here. Lemme know what you think.
There is a groundbreaking legal case happening in Austria right now, in which a judge is being asked to rule on the "humanness" of a chimp—specifically, over whether he deserves a legal guardian.
The animal in question is called Hiasl (pronounced Hazel). He was born in the Sierra Leone jungle in 1981, captured by animal traders, and illegally shipped to Austria, destined for a vivisection lab. Luckily, customs officials intercepted the crate and Hiasl was placed in an animal sanctuary. Now, 20-something years later, the sanctuary has gone belly up and Hiasl is slated to be sent to a zoo. There are European activists and lawyers trying to keep him out of the zoo, so the trial is on.
Obviously, there has been a whole lot of back-and-forth over this case in Europe, and you can google it if you want the full deal, but suffice to say that primatologists and legal experts have spoken up in support of Hiasl's having legal human status, which is amazing. Even more amazing is that Volker Sommer, a primatologist at London University, says chimps are not just one of the homo genus—he believes they should be considered as the same species as contemporary humans. In the end, however, a judge will decide. . . . This story is so powerful, and the fact that it’s even in court shows both how far the animal rights movement has come, and how far we have to go.
I just heard about it the other day, but my boss, PETA Prez Ingrid Newkirk, has been following the case closely for a while now, and weighing in where she can. There was a story in The New Scientist the other day, and some of the online comments—many from vivisectors—were absolutely appalling. But, as usual, Ingrid’s response to them was just perfect:
"The level of knowledge about this case as expressed on various blogs is bleak and seems to show that what humans have in common with chimpanzees is that they have learned to throw their faeces (we do it via the Internet) when threatened. There is no need to be threatened by a kind person's attempt to protect an ape from having his head opened up and electrodes put in it, and from spending his life banging his body against a steel cage. This reminds me of how insecure men reacted to the idea in the '60s that women might be entitled to the same wage as they were and perhaps shouldn't always be the ones bringing the coffee to everyone's desks. If you see the movie Amazing Grace (or read about the Abolitionist movement), the human slavers and those who benefited from slavery - and the ignorant defenders of the status quo, used variations on the same theme to defend themselves from the "threat" of any rights for African humans. Same song, different year. What we need is less defensiveness and more compassion in the world. As for the chest-beaters, another thing they have in common with chimpanzees, if only they could see beyond themselves and lament that their empathy gene is obviously deficient.”
True dat, Ingrid. I’ll keep everyone posted as the case progresses.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.