The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Four Monkeys will be tortured by UBC during experiments for Parkinson's Disease

This is a poor excuse for getting funding for a disease that humans get, and monkeys have to pay the price?

No one has actually, scientifically, found that monkeys are good subjects. It's ridiculous! Like I always say, ask the street people or cons on death row if they would like to participate in exchange for an extended life, food and shelter.

Activists want to buy four monkeys slated to die in Parkinson’s research

By Ian Austin, Postmedia News January 17, 2011 VANCOUVER — Anne Birthistle wants to save four rhesus monkeys from the University of British Columbia’s death row.

Birthistle, a researcher for Stop UBC Animal Research, wants to “adopt” the research monkeys by offering to buy the animals before they are killed as part of Experiment LS91.

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Province show that the four monkeys are to be injected with substances intended to duplicate Parkinson’s disease in humans, then “sacrificed” for testing to show the effects.

Under the heading, “Proteasome inhibition, aging and Parkinson’s Disease,” the Triumf-Life Sciences Report’s proposed project calls for the four rhesus macaque monkeys to be injected, scanned, and eventually “sacrificed for neuropathology . . . Neuropathological analyses will be performed post-mortem.”
Not if Birthistle and her group have their way.

“Stop UBC Animal Research will launch an ‘adopt a monkey’ campaign where we are prepared to pay for every monkey at UBC,” said Birthistle. “We want UBC to release them to us so that we can turn them over to a primate sanctuary where they can live out their days in peace and comfort.
“We don’t need to do research on animals,” said Birthistle. “We have computer modelling and technology, and human tissue samples.”
Birthistle said her group will pay “whatever it takes” to purchase the lab monkeys, so that they can be turned over to the Fauna Foundation and live out their lives.

John Hepburn, a chemical physicist who is UBC’s vice-president of research and international, didn’t dispute Birthistle’s version of the research.
“Roughly speaking, I think that’s correct,” Hepburn said of the characterization of injecting, scanning and euthanizing the monkeys.

“I’m not sure that it has been funded. I don’t think it has been approved or funded.”

But Hepburn said the research proposal has to been taken into context — Parkinson’s disease is a fatal illness with no known cure.

“This is research into Parkinson’s disease, which is a serious disease that kills a lot of people,” said Hepburn. “Research of this type does require the use of animals.”

“In order to do this research, the researchers would have to convince a group of international experts in Parkinson’s disease that this research is worthwhile.
“After that, they need to get approval from the UBC animal care committee that this research is being done humanely.”
Vancouver Province
Story Credit here


  1. Anonymous7:31 PM

    I think that using anaimals for testing is horrific! we have already hurt the earth enough, anaimals havent done anything to deserve what we ae doing to there planet and to them. people dieing from this disease is sad, but thats how life goes, its natural. it is not natural to inject somthing that will kill an animal just for a some testing that might not even change anything. And personally i think it is sad because im only 14 years old and i know my children or my grandchildren are going to live in such an overpopulated and poluted world, with many extinct and indangoured anaimals. and that is caused by just the kid of people who would want to promote things like this. i have a disease and know it is just how life goes and i dont want to hurt anything elese because of it.

  2. Dear Anon;
    Thank you for your comment and your feelings. Because of your age I am very excited to know that you, the next generation, is aware of the horrible things that humans do to our animals that Mother Nature has provided for us here in their world.

    A lot of the animals have been around decades before people, so in my opinion, this earth belongs to them and we are the invaders.

    I am so sorry to hear that you are ill. With your kind heart though, perhaps your life will be longer than you think it will be. Keep the hope and love in your heart, these 2 things seem to go further than medicines sometimes.

    I was diagnosed with Cancer years ago and here I am 30 years later with a kind heart for all animals. So nothing is impossible.

    You sound like a bright young adult, keep educating yourself on as much as you can, perhaps in the future, you can make a difference!

  3. Anonymous6:51 PM

    "No one has actually, scientifically, found that monkeys are good subjects. It's ridiculous!"

    Non-human primates are the closest genetic relatives humans have, and thus share the greatest number of similarities in terms of brain structure, neurological function and physiology, and neurotransmitter systems. It is sufficient to say that while non-human primates may not be human, they are the closest thing we have to using actual human subjects, and prevent researchers from using hundreds of animal subjects like zebra finches or laboratory rats.


    "Like I always say, ask the street people or cons on death row if they would like to participate in exchange for an extended life, food and shelter."

    I cannot emphasize enough how disturbing this comment is. How many convicts and street people purposefully or willingly end up in a life of crime (ending up in prison) or on the streets (likely addicted to drugs)? This is a cruel statement that sets a very dangerous precedent: why doesn't the government simply imprison more people, or engineer and disseminate drugs that are even more addictive/destructive? If these people have nothing to lose, you're suggesting that they at least make their lives useful by partaking in biomedical experiments. While the data from these experimental subjects would be invaluable... human beings have a complex emotional/linguistic/social system that guarantees inalienable universal rights - by relegating these people to biomedical experiments, they become subhuman. While I agree wholeheartedly that humans are, like all other living things on earth, just another group of organisms (and perhaps a group that is a new player on the block in geographical time)... this does not mean that we should start slaughtering disenfranchised humans for the purposes of medical experiments.

    Please consider the gravity of what you say...

  4. Anon, thank you for your comment...
    I'm understanding that your opinion is that because Humans (Primates) have language and can cry out in pain, have more complex thoughts whereas Non-Human Primates do not, then it's ok to cause pain to Non-Human Primates because we aren't aware of the pain they suffer.

    Experiments of diseases do not require complex thinking, nor should it hinder any of the findings, so that argument just doesn't fly.

    Whether the use on Non-Human Primates or Primates are used it is both a morality issue.

    You nor anyone else can predict the outcome of these experiments on Humans, what the government will do.

    We as Humans are suppose to have rights, which means that if an indivual decides that they choose to give the remaining years of their horrid life to research and being a part of something grander, then that should be their choice. If we evolved from Non-Human Primates that gives US? the right to experiment on them?

    That's the problem with society today, we think we are much more important then anything or anyone else on the earth. We have dominated this earth for many many years and it's time to give back if we choose too. It is not our "right" to make such horrid decisions for the animals. We always have some sort of excuse to experiment on them, to shot them and whatever else us Humans feel like doing to them. An example, hunters "well if we don't shot them they will run in the road and get killed" Well that's Mother Nature, who are we to decide to shot them or decide what their life expectancy.

    On the other side, why should the government (the people) pay the expense for a death row con? What if this con had raped and killed your daughter? Would you feel differently about keeping him alive while the appeals are going on? Or... Would you like to give him the opportunity to give back to life to possibly help someone else.

    In the next few years I do see that experimenting will no longer be permitted for Non-Human Primates. What will we do then?

  5. Anonymous12:34 AM

    "I'm understanding that your opinion is that because Humans (Primates) have language and can cry out in pain, have more complex thoughts whereas Non-Human Primates do not, then it's ok to cause pain to Non-Human Primates because we aren't aware of the pain they suffer."

    I'm sorry that's what you interpreted my stance as. Allow me to clarify. Non-human primates and humans have the ability to cry out in pain, and we both have (at least in the case of bonobo chimpanzees) language. While we have complex emotional experiences, complex cognitive abilities, and a 'self-awareness' concept, evidence suggests that other species do too (elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees), not to simply anthropomorphize their behaviour. This is largely why research on non-human primates has ceased. Name ANY contemporary studies (done in the last 20 years) that use chimpanzees, orangutangs, gorillas, etc. in any INVASIVE bio-medical procedures. Contemporary research is limited to non-ape primates like rhesus macaques, for instance. While this species is perhaps limited what what you describe as simple "screaming out in pain" - that is demonstrative of a real experience of pain by that animal. The experience of pain - and whether or not WE think an animal experiences it - isn't a grounds for conducting or not conducting an experiment.

    We are very much aware of the pain they suffer, and that is why experimental procedures are VERY STRICTLY in place to mitigate the pain that they experience. For instance, anaesthetics are used to lessen pain. Basic familiarization training is performed to make sure that animals do not experience unnecessary stress (i.e. when being restrained).

    The sad part, I agree, is that we as a 'dominant' species are able to thereby "make the choice" for these innocent creatures. But if given a choice, all living things will always choose no pain over pain... life over death. Humans will do the same.

  6. Anonymous12:44 AM

    What disturbs me most about your comment is the brash assumption that convicts and drug addicts are some kind of sub-human group that - by virtue of being in the position they are - they don't deserve the same rights you and I enjoy.

    But what I beg you to observe is that most of those people are not there by choice - they fell into that lifestyle/path by virtue of pre-determined socio-economic conditions, or perhaps even genetics. That does not mean they should automatically become our guinea-pigs to replace non-human primates once those are phased out of bio-medical research practices. They should be treated with the same respect that you show your beloved non-human primates, or perhaps pitied, given the deplorable living conditions they may have had as children.

    To simply say that cons/addicts - not the primates - deserve to be experimented on is a wholly callous, hypocritical, and deplorable stance, and that if you wish to be taken seriously, you would show some humanity to the needy members of your own species, before making such outrageous statements.

    I share your feelings of condemnation for the abuses that humans have perpetrated on other species that we share this Earth with... but targeting the weak and needy members of humanity for medical experiments is ethically and morally wrong.

  7. Anonymous12:55 AM

    "On the other side, why should the government (the people) pay the expense for a death row con? What if this con had raped and killed your daughter? Would you feel differently about keeping him alive while the appeals are going on? Or... Would you like to give him the opportunity to give back to life to possibly help someone else."

    The problem with this argument is the dangerous precedent that is set by using 'deadly criminals' for medical experiments. Is a criminal going to choose a protracted, prolonged death, or the quick way out? Depending on whether or not they have psychopathic tendencies or not, they will most often go for the 'quick way out' so to speak. Who would voluntarily contract Parkinson's Disease, or at least acquire the symptoms that mimic the disease, say?? Very few people, if any, would choose the long way.

    This would then require that the individual be forced, by virtue of court orders, to be assigned to medical experiments. In the case of the People's Republic of China, people are often simply executed - and then their organs harvested for purposes of surgical transplants. This is perhaps the most utility a convict has, by providing their healthy organs to help save another life.

    But this leads to the question: what precedent does this set? Will governments perhaps change judicial practices to expedite the legal proceedings, thereby flooding prisons with potential bio-medical subjects, or worse yet, a human organ farm? The most vulnerable socio-economic classes, at a predisposition for criminal behaviour, are often unable to secure sufficient legal representation, and are altogether very susceptible to such a system. Drug addicts could also easily be detained for disturbing the peace. And assuming that a fanatical or radical (left or right wing) government were to be the type of government to enact such 'strong' legislation, intellectuals and political dissidents would then fall into the 'vulnerable' category.

    Please entertain my slippery-slope argument, but your comments hit a very strong chord in my mind, and disturbing as your stance is, it begs some very important questions... and has hopefully provoked some reflection in your own stance, Judie.

  8. Dear Anon;
    Thank you for your comment.
    I agree that cons are deadly, though so are Chimpanzees as in the many previous cases of Chimpanzee attacks. So they are both dangerous subjects to perform experiments on, so which is the better? You can certainly give a con the same medication, probably ketamine, as you can a chimp to keep them stable.

    I don't believe that I mentioned anything at all about Organ Farms. We don't do that to our Chimpanzees so why do it to humans.

    Chimpanzees aren't even suppose to be here in our country, though this is native land to humans. Chimpanzee society takes care of itself with dominance, killing, and unfortunetly starvation and poaching. What do you think we would be doing for human diseases if Chimps and all Primates weren't brought over here to the States for that sole purpose?

    Humans have the right to make their own decisions, such as chimpanzees do. Travis the chimp decided that day he was going to protect his property and try to kill Charla Nash and he was shot for that. When a human decides and they do decide, to kill someone they also should be punished for their actions.

    Social staus in my opinion is a cop out. I was a foster parent for many years, seeing all types of children and their families. Along with the bad, came good out of some of the families even though their social and income status did not change.

    If a human decides to rape someone, to kill someone, then they should have to pay the consequences, just as Apes do with their peers.

    In our country there are too many things that are done to the animals that other countries would not tolerate and we shouldn't either.

  9. Dear Anon;
    To reply to all of your comments.
    You are correct, I don't believe that cons have the same rights as us. They are locked away from society for a reason. Once they enter those walls of prison, they have no rights. First right is freedom and freeedom to make their own choices. No one except for them put them in there. They made the decision to do the act of violence of whatever, so they should pay the penalty.

    I do not consider the cons, weak and needy. They destroy peoles lives in the act of violence and then they get shelter, food, and other commodities, and we the people, including the victims family have to support them. Living in a cell for the rest of their lives is a waste of our taxes, our money!!!

    Since I do not believe in GOD, but instead evolution, Chimpanzees ARE our species. I suppose you have never worked around them or had the opportunity to work with them on a cognitive level. I have. I raised 2 chimpanzees from infants to 7 years old. I know them, their behaviour, their likes, dislikes, the way they love and share and their highly emotional feelings. They feel pain and can express pain and sadness just as we do, though the scientists seem to ignore or don't understand that they DO IN FACT have emotions, cognitive skills and a thought process of many steps at one time.

    I have helped Humans over and over again to be disappointed, turned on and hurt. I have seen more bad in people than good. This is not the way people should be. If you look at our species past when technology wasn't as advanced as now, people were very much family oriented and simple things in life made them happy. I feel bad for those that have sickness, but I don't think that using other species to cure us is right. My mother-in law passed away 2 years ago from Parkinsons and even having that in my family I don't believe in it.

    You said:
    "Who would voluntarily contract Parkinson's Disease, or at least acquire the symptoms that mimic the disease, say?? Very few people, if any, would choose the long way."
    I think that would depend on how much they value life.

    In my opinion, morally experimenting on Primates is wrong anyway you look at it.

  10. Anonymous11:07 AM

    "In my opinion, morally experimenting on Primates is wrong anyway you look at it." - Primates is extended to humans too, which is why your argument is perplexing.

    I think the issue boils down to a perception of the innocence of the parties involved.

    What frustrates me about your perspective is the lack of an appreciation from the multiple dimensions and complexities involved. With a background in International Relations and Behavioural Neuroscience, I have been exposed to both the amazing and profoundly disturbing attributes of human nature. But in the majority of cases, the good attributes of the human species spur us to carry on.

    Looking specifically at the genesis of how an individual becomes a convict, especially in the American case, most of these people feel constrained, if not, dare I say "caged" in a specific low and desparate socio-economic class. They lash out in whatever way they can, and resort to criminal activity. What I'm saying is that governments can potentially expand the definitional/legal criteria for criminal behaviour, and ensnare many 'convicts'... which, along your wishes, would mean an ample supply of 'deserving' biomedical subjects.

    This is disturbing.

    To put this in perspective, lets explore a case of chimpanzee attacks against owners/rescuers. Often enough, the chimpanzees are being rescued or rehabilitated from having been brought up in an abusive environment in their infancy/childhood. A simple trigger is enough to provoke a vicious attack against their caregiver. Should this violent animal be culled/euthanized/executed? Sent in for biomedical experiments? Like you, I very much sympathize for the unfortuante upbringing it would have been exposed to. That wasn't the chimpanzee's fault, but its former owner's. Why, then, should the animal be punished for its behaviour? The former owners should be morally culpable in the punishment process.

    Much goes the same for the societal system that exists to create whole communities of 'criminals' in American society. The only difference is that the people that give rise to the low socio-economic conditions that criminals grow up in are the racists, bigots, and white supremacists that dominate the American economy, government, and society, coupled with general societal attitudes (even if you aren't overtly racist or a white supremacist) that are generally weary and mistrusting of the 'criminal' population. It's much harder to directly implicate these people in their responsibility, though.

    Oh, and on your note of evolution, we are not the same species as Chimpanzees. If we were, we could interbreed with them and produce viable offspring that are able to breed themselves. This is not the case, and indicates that speciation has occurred. You are simply anthropomorphizing their behaviour to fit a humanoid preconception that you hold. Having studied genetics and comparative vertebrate zoology - bonobo chimpanzees are perhaps the closest genetic relatives we have.... but that does not make us the same. We share a common lineage (i.e. we share the same primate ancestors), but that common lineage does not imply sameness. I indicated earlier that the cognitive capabilities of non-human primates are profoundly much more advanced than early 20th century science suggested. Present-day approaches in psychology acknowledge this, and we learned extensively about how advanced primates are.

  11. Dear Anon;
    Thank you for your comment.
    Let me clarify, Non-Human Primates should not be experimented on. I believe that if Human-Primates choose this option it should be their decision. No law or laws should prevent those people from wanting to participate. It's called free will.

    There have been and still are studies in which people can participate in and get paid for doing so, such as but not limited to; New sleeping medications, sleep disorderstudies,the effects of alcohol, etc. These studies have also been done with Chimpanzees, which to me is a total waste of money, time, resources and you can get the same results from people looking for additional income. It would be the people's choose, not the government and some team of scientists that want to make a name for themselves. i know a few of those. I think that sometimes Scientists make up studies to get funding for new projects as a way of staying employed. The above tests along with some of the testing done now is not important to the survival of Humans, and even if it was it still doesn't give anyone the right to experiment on Chimpanzees.

    Chimpanzee's that have been used in research started long before they were pets here in the US. Before the CITIES, Apes were being killed, babies ripped off their mothers and sent here for research. Once they had an abundance of chimps, the government started breeding their own for the sole purpose of making them ill, in pain and living in horrible conditions.

    Chimpanzees do not attack people because they have been mistreated, they attack because it is their nature of dominance to protect, shelter, feed, and breed. Owners don't have anything at all to do with their behaviour.

    I do know that Bonobos are much closer to humans, though because years ago the government wanted to do research, they split the classification of Chimpanzees, whereas not the other Ape Groupes. In the wild they are classified as endangered, same as Bonobos, in captivity they are classified as Threatened. If Bonobos and other Apes had the same classification they also would be subjects for experiments. The governments choice of which Ape was dictated to them by the classification.

    In regards to socio-economic class, any one person is capable of changing. Humans have the ability to do so.

    Perhaps if these issues of crimes being in their genes, then that bloodline should stop. We breed and carry attributes to our young just as Apes do to theirs.

    In years to come with all of the cognitive studies on Apes, people will look back and say "why in the hell did we do that?" Just as the poor Chimp, Ham was a subject for disaster.

  12. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Reading your response clarifies in my mind the profound need that the North American continent has for educational reforms and a stricter adherence to implementing a robust science curriculum.

    While you may be convicted in the realm of protecting chimpanzee and other non-human primate lives, and while this advocacy is much needed, you lack a discernible amount of credence with your emotion-driven and scientifically-unfounded or in other cases, outright misinformation.

    I do not feel compelled to continue to make a case against your emotion-driven arguments, as I simply cannot sway you in your stance. But may this be a testament to the art of argument - for those reading these posts - let the more reasoned and enlightened ones of you make your own decision, and acknowledge the FACTS and not the emotion-driven rhetoric.

    If, for future reference, you care to present a well-reasonsed argument and one that is digestible - and dare I say, supported - by the general human public, try to back up your touching anecdotes with cited scientific facts, and lay off the crippling emotional appeals.

    Most Sincerely,

    Anonymous - but a Biopsychology graduate who understands and profoundly appreciates the pros and cons of animal testing, and has explored the issue logically

  13. Dear Anon;
    Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry that you were not able to sway my thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Though that is why each and everyone of us are indivuals.

    I couldn't sway you either, so that doesn't mean that one or the other of us is correct or incorrect. This just means that we are both apart of this messed up world with our "Own Minds".