Robot Monkeys?

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2 min read

If you were watching the news last week, you probably caught the story about vivisectors at the University of Pittsburgh who—to hear the media report it—have performed “groundbreaking” work that will help people with paralyzing conditions gain more control over their lives.So what did these miracle workers do? They sawed into the skulls of monkeys, implanted tiny electrodes in the monkeys’ brains, and trained the monkeys to perform certain tasks. In similar studies, experimenters “train” monkeys by depriving them of water for extended periods of time so that out of thirsty desperation, the monkeys will comply. The electrodes in the monkeys’ brains were attached to a computer, and the computer was attached to a robotic arm. The vivisectors restrained the monkeys’ arms and had the animals use their thoughts to move the robotic arm to their mouths so that they could get the food. Now, this may sound pretty extraordinary. The thing is that the experiments had already been performed on humans by researchers at Brown University nearly two years ago! Of course, in the case of the human studies, the people weren’t taken from their families and imprisoned alone in tiny metal and concrete cages, where they could only take a single step in any direction; they weren’t kept thirsty and hungry so that they could be “trained”; and they weren’t deprived of the feeling of the ground beneath their feet, the warmth of the sun on their backs, the wind in their faces, and everything else that is natural and important to them.It would seem that the lives of the monkeys used in the University of Pittsburgh’s experiments are worth so little to the vivisectors that they continue to abuse and torment them, just to duplicate concepts already proved using humans. PETA primate specialist Dr. Debra Durham, who has worked in primate labs and knows firsthand how ugly these places are, minces no words when describing what happens to monkeys in these hellholes:

It probably comes as no surprise that monkeys traumatized in labs suffer physically and psychologically. Studies have shown that roughly 90 percent of monkeys in labs have serious psychological symptoms, while another 15 to 25 percent engage in some form of self-mutilation. … For monkeys, laboratories are their Guantanamo.

—GracePosted by Grace Freidan, Researcher

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