Cambridge condemned for 'sickening' monkey experiments

Image credit: Phalinn Ooi

Last week the Anti-Vivisection Coalition launched a campaign to strip Cambridge facilities conducting research on monkeys of public spending, after what it described as a series of “sickening” experiments.

AVC seek to have public funding revoked for the universities primate research facility and the government financed farm which breeds macaques for the institution.

A long-running programme of “sickening” experiments carried out on monkeys at Cambridge has motivated the campaign. It is said to include depriving the animals of food and water, sawing open their skulls, implanting electrodes in the brain and restraining them for hours at a time.

Luke Steele, head of AVC commented, “AVC are delivering a very strong message to the British Government - withdraw the funding from these vicious primate experiments. However, the responsibility also lies with Cambridge to listen to public opinion, halt the testing, and release all monkeys for retirement.’’

A spokesman from the University of Cambridge said: “ongoing research here at Cambridge and elsewhere offers the greatest hope of treatment for conditions such as cancer, parkinsons, multiple sclerosis… without animal research, which is only used where there is no alternative, many treatments we take for granted would not be possible.”

He continued, “Good science and good animal welfare go hand in hand. The UK has the most rigorous animal welfare regulations in the world, and Cambridge has always adhered to these regulations and will continue to work to the highest possible standards of animal care.’’

Jacob Sen, a first year student of Veterinary Science at Trinity Hall, told The Cambridge Student: “I think it’s fair to say that nobody wants animals to be caused suffering but I don’t think people should be guilt tripped into believing animal testing is unacceptable when it still has relevance and is highly regulated.’’

He also pointed out that “compared to other uses for animals, like intensive farming or circuses, animal testing certainly has more just grounds for causing suffering when it is for the right reasons.’’

This is not the first time animal rights groups have protested against vivisection in Cambridge. Last year, campaigners held a vigil to protest against the breeding of beagles for vivisection, and in 2011 TCS ran an investigation into the University's animal testing practices dealing with information going back over a decade.

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