Too Close to Human; Like Chimps Rhesus Monkeys Are Self-Aware

This article may be redundant after reading The Abstraction of Beasts, but Science Daily website had an article recently that explored self awareness among rhesus monkeys long believed to lack the self awareness that chimpanzees have. Self-awareness puts these primates closer to human beings on the ladder of the animal kingdom. It turns out research’s favorite victim, the rhesus monkey, is also self-aware.

Just knowing this should put a pause in these researcher’s minds. We know how highly intelligent primates are, and that they know when they are indeed looking at themselves in a mirror. Yet we continue to do research on them and even when the animal becomes too old or frail, fail to at very least release the primates to sanctuaries. No wonder the primates in cages in Sagan’s essay “The Abstraction of Beasts” spit and scream at researchers as they walk by. They are like inmates at the will and mercy of humans but have done absolutely nothing wrong to warrant such a life.

A foundation called SAVE THE CHIMPS is also calling attention to the practice of just abandoning and forgetting about former research victims. Save the Chimps foundation states: “Their mission is to provide permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment and the pet trade.”

My thought is that if we respected all life and as a country that professes so much about freedom would see that the freedom for all species to flourish in their natural environment should be a goal for the sheer preservation of all the varied species, we wouldn’t need sanctuaries like this.

It’s ironic to me that it is all right to make animals succumb to being victims of heinous research facilities, animals that do not smoke, drink, do drugs, eat horribly unhealthy, never exercise or knowingly commit dreadful crimes, but not humans even though the research is supposedly for human beings.

Like Sagan’s argument that because an animal does not speak our specific language, we automatically assume they are of lesser intellect and lesser value than we are who do smoke, drink, do drugs, eat horribly unhealthy, never exercise and knowingly commit dreadful crimes. What value do we really put on life that we would do detrimental things to ourselves and expect animals who do not do these types of things to give their lives unwillingly in order to keep us living?

We’re long overdue for stricter animal rights and a good kick in our conscience. At very least the animals that have been victimized should be released immediately into sanctuaries as some small repentance for what we’ve done and continue to do.

Email your rep and tell them you want them to move the Great Ape Act forward and pass it into law to protect this humanlike animal once and for all.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929171739.htm.

http://www.savethechimps.org/.

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It’s World Animal Week, A Time to Rethink Animals

It’s World Animal Week this week and I thought a good way to begin was to read Carl Sagan’s “The Abstraction of Beasts” to provoke change for the way we view animals. It’s not the full text but close with most of the poignant entries about very human like qualities apes possess minus a few paragraphs dealing with brain mass vs body mass. It’s well worth reading.

THE ABSTRACTION OF BEASTS by Carl Sagan

BEASTS ABSTRACT NOT,” announced John Locke, expressing mankind’s prevailing opinion throughout recorded history. Bishop Berkeley had, however, a sardonic rejoinder: “If the fact that brutes abstract not be made the distinguishing property of that sort of animal, I fear a great many of those that pass for men must be reckoned into their number.” Abstract thought, at least in its more subtle varieties, is not an invariable accompaniment of everyday life for the average man. Could abstract thought be a matter not of kind but of degree? Could other animals be capable of abstract thought but more rarely or less deeply than humans?

We have the impression that other animals are not very intelligent. But have we examined the possibility of animal intelligence carefully enough, or, as in Francois Truffaut’s poignant film The Wild Child, do we simply equate the absence of our style of expression of intelligence with the absence of intelligence? In discussing communication with the animals, the French philosopher Montaigne remarked, “The defect that hinders communication between them and us, why may it not be on our part as well as theirs?”

There is, of course, a considerable body of anecdotal information suggesting chimpanzee intelligence. The first serious study of the behavior of simians-including their behavior in the wild-was made in Indonesia by Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection. Wallace concluded that a baby orangutan he studied behaved “exactly like a human child in similar circumstances.” In fact, “orangutan” is a Malay phrase meaning not ape but “man of the woods.” Teuber recounted many stories told by his parents, pioneer German ethnologists who founded and operated the first research station devoted to chimpanzee behavior on Tenerife in the Canary Islands early in the second decade of this century. It was here that Wolfgang Kohler performed his famous studies of Sultan, a chimpanzee “genius” who was able to connect two rods in order to reach an otherwise inaccessible banana. On Tenerife, also, two chimpanzees were observed maltreating a chicken: One would extend some food to the fowl, encouraging it to approach; whereupon the other would thrust at it with a piece of wire it had concealed behind its back. The chicken would retreat but soon allow itself to approach once again-and be beaten once again. Here is a fine combination of behavior sometimes thought to be uniquely human: cooperation, planning a future course of action, deception and cruelty. It also reveals that chickens have a very low capacity for avoidance learning.

Until a few years ago, the most extensive attempt to communicate with chimpanzees went something like this: A newborn chimp was taken into a household with a newborn baby, and both would be raised together-twin cribs, twin bassinets, twin high chairs, twin potties, twin diaper pails, twin baby powder cans. At the end of three years, the young chimp had, of course, far outstripped the young human in manual dexterity, running, leaping, climbing and other motor skills. But while the child was happily babbling away, the chimp could say only, and with enormous difficulty, “Mama,” “Papa,” and “cup.” From this it was widely concluded that in language, reasoning and other higher mental functions, chimpanzees were only minimally competent: “Beasts abstract not.”

But in thinking over these experiments, two psychologists, Beatrice and Robert Gardner, at the University of Nevada realized that the pharynx and larynx of the chimp are not suited for human speech. Human beings exhibit a curious multiple use of the mouth for eating, breathing and communicating. In insects such as crickets, which call to one another by rubbing their legs, these three functions are performed by completely separate organ systems. Human spoken language seems to be adventitious.

But in thinking over these experiments, two psychologists, Beatrice and Robert Gardner, at the University of Nevada realized that the pharynx and larynx of the chimp are not suited for human speech. Human beings exhibit a curious multiple use of the mouth for eating, breathing and communicating. In insects such as crickets, which call to one another by rubbing their legs, these three functions are performed by completely separate organ systems. Human spoken language seems to be adventitious. The exploitation of organ systems with other functions for communication in humans is also indicative of the comparatively recent evolution of our linguistic abilities. It might be, the Gardner’s reasoned, that chimpanzees have substantial language abilities which could not be expressed because of the limitations of their anatomy. Was there any symbolic language, they asked, that could employ the strengths rather than the weaknesses of chimpanzee anatomy?

The Gardner’s hit upon a brilliant idea: Teach a chimpanzee American sign language, known by its acronym Ameslan, and sometimes as “American deaf and dumb language” (the “dumb” refers, of course, to the inability to speak and not to any failure of intelligence). It is ideally suited to the immense manual dexterity of the chimpanzee. It also may have all the crucial design features of verbal languages.

There is by now a vast library of described and filmed conversations, employing Ameslan and other gestural languages, with Washoe, Lucy, Lana and other chimpanzees studied by the Gardners and others. Not only are there chimpanzees with working vocabularies of 100 to 200 words; they are also able to distinguish among nontrivially different grammatical patterns and syntaxes. What is more, they have been remarkably inventive in the construction of new words and phrases.

On seeing for the first time a duck land quacking in a pond, Washoe gestured “waterbird,” which is the same phrase used in English and other languages, but which Washoe invented for the occasion. Having never seen a spherical fruit other than an apple, but knowing the signs for the principal colors, Lana, upon spying a technician eating an orange, signed “orange apple.” After tasting a watermelon, Lucy described it as “candy drink” or “drink fruit,” which is essentially the same word form as the English “water melon.” But after she had burned her mouth on her first radish, Lucy forever after described them as “cry hurt food.” A small doll placed unexpectedly in Washoe’s cup elicited the response “Baby in my drink.” When Washoe soiled, particularly clothing or furniture, she was taught the sign “dirty,” which she then extrapolated as a general term of abuse. A rhesus monkey that evoked her displeasure was repeatedly signed at: “Dirty monkey, dirty monkey, dirty monkey.”Occasionally Washoe would say things like “Dirty Jack, gimme drink.” Lana, in a moment of creative annoyance, called her trainer “You green shit.” Chimpanzees have invented swear words. Was-hoe also seems to have a sort of sense of humor; once, when riding on her trainer’s shoulders and, perhaps inadvertently, wetting him, she signed: “Funny, funny.”

Lucy was eventually able to distinguish clearly the meanings of the phrases “Roger tickle Lucy” and “Lucy tickle Roger,” both of which activities she enjoyed with gusto. Likewise, Lana extrapolated from “Tim groom Lana” to “Lana groom Tim.” Washoe was observed “reading” a magazine-i.e., slowly turning the pages, peering intently at the pictures and making, to no one in particular, an appropriate sign, such as “cat” when viewing a photograph of a tiger, and “drink” when examining a Vermouth advertisement. Having learned the sign “open” with a door, Washoe extended the concept to a briefcase. She also attempted to converse in Ameslan with the laboratory cat, who turned out to be the only illiterate in the facility. Having acquired this marvelous method of communication, Washoe may have been surprised that the cat was not also competent in Ameslan. And when one day Jane, Lucy’s foster mother, left the laboratory, Lucy gazed after her and signed: “Cry me. Me cry.”

Boyce Rensberger is a sensitive and gifted reporter for the New York Times whose parents could neither speak nor hear, although he is in both respects normal. His first language, however, was Ameslan. He had been abroad on a European assignment for the Times for some years. On his return to the United States, one of his first domestic duties was to look into the Gardners’ experiments with Washoe. After some little time with the chimpanzee, Rensberger reported, “Suddenly I realized I was conversing with a member of another species in my native tongue.” The use of the word tongue is, of course, figurative: it is built deeply into the structure of the language (a word that also means “tongue”). In fact, Rensberger was conversing with a member of another species in his native “hand.” And it is just this transition from tongue to hand that has permitted humans to regain the ability-lost, according to Josephus, since Eden-to communicate with the animals.

In addition to Ameslan, chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates are being taught a variety of other gestural languages. At the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, they are learning a specific computer language called (by the humans, not the chimps) “Yerkish.” The computer records all of its subjects’ conversations, even during the night when no humans are in attendance; and from its ministrations we have learned that chimpanzees prefer jazz to rock and movies about chimpanzees to movies about human beings. Lana had, by January 1976, viewed The Developmental Anatomy of the Chimpanzee 245 times. She would undoubtedly appreciate a larger film library.

The machine provides for many of Lana’s needs, but not all. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, she forlornly types out: “Please, machine, tickle Lana.”) More elaborate requests and commentaries, each requiring a creative use of a set grammatical form, have been developed subsequently.

Lana monitors her sentences on a computer display, and erases those with grammatical errors. Once, in the midst of Lana’s construction of an elaborate sentence, her trainer mischievously and repeatedly interposed, from his separate computer console, a word that made nonsense of Lana’s sentence. She gazed at her computer display, spied her trainer at his console, and composed a new sentence: “Please, Tim, leave room.” Just as Washoe and Lucy can be said to speak, Lana can be said to write.

At an early stage in the development of Washoe’s verbal abilities, Jacob Bronowski and a colleague wrote a scientific paper denying the significance of Washoe’s use of gestural language because, in the limited data available to Bronowski, Washoe neither inquired nor negated. But later observations showed that Washoe and other chimpanzees were perfectly able both to ask questions and to deny assertions put to them. And it is difficult to see any significant difference in quality between chimpanzee use of gestural language and the use of ordinary speech by children in a manner that we unhesitatingly attribute to intelligence. In reading Bronowski’s paper I cannot help but feel that a little pinch of human chauvinism has crept in, an echo of Locke’s “Beasts abstract not.” In 1949, the American anthropologist Leslie White stated unequivocally: “Human behavior is symbolic behavior; symbolic behavior is human behavior.” What would White have made of Washoe, Lucy and Lana?

[]Because adult chimpanzees are generally thought (at least by zookeepers) to be too dangerous to retain in a home or home environment, Washoe and other verbally accomplished chimpanzees have been involuntarily “retired” soon after reaching puberty. Thus we do not yet have experience with the adult language abilities of monkeys and apes. One of the most intriguing questions is whether a verbally accomplished chimpanzee mother will be able to communicate language to her offspring. It seems very likely that this should be possible and that a community of chimps initially competent in gestural language could pass down the language to subsequent generations.

[]Differences in group behavior-something that it is very tempting to call cultural differences-have been reported among chimpanzees, baboons, macaques and many other primates. For example, one group of monkeys may know how to eat bird’s eggs, while an adjacent band of precisely the same species may not. Such primates have a few dozen sounds or cries, which are used for intra-group communication, with such meanings as “Flee; here is a predator.” But the sound of the cries differs somewhat from group to group: there are regional accents.

An even more striking experiment was performed accidentally by Japanese primatologists attempting to relieve an overpopulation and hunger problem in a community of macaques on an island in south Japan. The anthropologists threw grains of wheat on a sandy beach. Now it is very difficult to separate wheat grains one by one from sand grains; such an effort might even expend more energy than eating the collected wheat would provide. But one brilliant macaque, Imo, perhaps by accident or out of pique, threw handfuls of the mixture into the water. Wheat floats; sand sinks, a fact that Imo clearly noted. Through the sifting process she was able to eat well (on a diet of soggy wheat, to be sure). While older macaques, set in their ways, ignored her, the younger monkeys appeared to grasp the importance of her discovery, and imitated it. In the next generation, the practice was more widespread; today all macaques on the island are competent at water sifting, an example of a cultural tradition among the monkeys.

Earlier studies on Takasakiyama, a mountain in northeast Kyushu inhabited by macaques, show a similar pattern in cultural evolution. Visitors to Takasakiyama threw caramels wrapped in paper to the monkeys – a common practice in Japanese zoos, but one the Takasakiyama macaques had never before encountered. In the course of play, some young monkeys discovered how to unwrap the caramels and eat them. The habit was passed on successively to their playmates, their mothers, the dominant males (who among the macaques act as babysitters for the very young) and finally to the subadult males, who were at the furthest social remove from the monkey children. The process of acculturation took more than three years. In natural primate communities, the existing nonverbal communications are so rich that there is little pressure for the development of a more elaborate gestural language. But if gestural language were necessary for chimpanzee survival, there can be little doubt that it would be transmitted culturally down through the generations.

I would expect a significant development and elaboration of language in only a few generations if all the chimps unable to communicate were to die or fail to reproduce. Basic English corresponds to about 1,000 words. Chimpanzees are already accomplished in vocabularies exceeding 10 percent of that number. Although a few years ago it would have seemed the most implausible science fiction, it does not appear to me out of the question that, after a few generations in such a verbal chimpanzee community, there might emerge the memoirs of the natural history and mental life of a chimpanzee, published in English or Japanese (with perhaps an “as told to” after the by-line).

If chimpanzees have consciousness, if they are capable of abstractions, do they not have what until now has been described as “human rights”? How smart does a chimpanzee have to be before killing him constitutes murder? What further properties must he show before religious missionaries must consider him worthy of attempts at conversion?

I recently was escorted through a large primate research laboratory by its director. We approached a long corridor lined, to the vanishing point as in a perspective drawing, with caged chimpanzees. They were one, two or three to a cage, and I am sure the accommodations were exemplary as far as such institutions (or for that matter traditional zoos) go. As we approached the nearest cage, its two inmates bared their teeth and with incredible accuracy let fly great sweeping arcs of spittle, fairly drenching the lightweight suit of the facility’s director. They then uttered a staccato of short shrieks, which echoed down the corridor to be repeated and amplified by other caged chimps, who had certainly not seen us, until the corridor fairly shook with the screeching and banging and rattling of bars. The director informed me that not only spit is apt to fly in such a situation; and at his urging we retreated.

I was powerfully reminded of those American motion pictures of the 1930s and 40s, set in some vast and dehumanized state or federal penitentiary, in which the prisoners banged their eating utensils against the bars at the appearance of the tyrannical warden. These chimps are healthy and well-fed. If they are “only” animals, if they are beasts which abstract not, then my comparison is a piece of sentimental foolishness. But chimpanzees can abstract. Like other mammals, they are capable of strong emotions. They have certainly committed no crimes. I do not claim to have the answer, but I think it is certainly worthwhile to raise the question: Why, exactly, all over the civilized world, in virtually every major city, are apes in prison?

For all we know, occasional viable crosses between humans and chimpanzees are possible. The natural experiment must have been tried very infrequently, at least recently. If such off-spring are ever produced, what will their legal status be? The cognitive abilities of chimpanzees force us, I think, to raise searching questions about the boundaries of the community of beings to which special ethical considerations are due, and can, I hope, help to extend our ethical perspectives downward through the taxa on Earth and upwards to extraterrestrial organisms, if they exist.

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Animal Experiments Hinder Breakthroughs in Health for Humans

I was filling out postcards on behalf of lab animals through In Defense of Animals or IDA organization. The postcards included responses from researchers in major organizations like the NIH and National Cancer Institute. The NIH or National Institute of Health funded a survey and “found that thousands of NIH-funded researchers agreed the grant funding system is an unfair ‘old boys network’ that caters to those who know how to ‘work the system.’ A past NIH Director has said that this system is an obstacle to ‘truly transformative’ research, while the former head of the National Cancer Institute has stated that it is a ‘terrible wasted opportunity.'”

The first postcard was addressed to Dr. Francis Collins, the current Director of NIH. It urges Dr. Collins to re-examine NIH’s methods of grant funding and to please fund “innovative, cutting-edge non-animal methods of research.”

What’s wrong with this picture that as taxpayers our money goes to stupid, repetitive, wasteful and cruel experiments on animals that I’ve vividly described in a previous blog and yet we still have to IMPLORE the Director of NIH to change? We’re not advancing into 21st Century research meant for our own well being because we continue to use archaic methods of research FOR THE MONEY. As I said in my previous blog, anyone who has worked under grants or knows anything about the grant process knows that if an organization doesn’t use all the grant money, it will not receive as much next time and grant writers know how to work the system. I know how to write for grants, and that is why I’m really protesting what continues to happen in the U.S. relative to the suffering of lab animals and the detrimental effect it has on the overall advances in medicine and healthcare for humans!

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/04/saturday-april-24th-world-day-for-animals-in-laboratories/.

The next postcard was addressed to Steven Chu, our current Energy Secretary who oversees all Dept. of Energy facilities like the Brookhaven National Lab. NASA has proposed that this lab do a study on the “Long-term Effects of Space Radiation in Nonhuman Primates.” This is to be funded with $1.75 million dollars of taxpayer’s money. The lab will “inundate tiny squirrel money with one concentrated dose of radiation.” What for? “Since the 50’s, thousands of primates have been exposed to various types of radiation with results ranging from vomiting to eye damage to hemorrhaging.” What new result could NASA possibly be looking for the past 60 years hasn’t already covered? “Decades of radiation experiments have proven that animals react differently from other animals of the same species or other species.” So how could one big dose of radiation on these little monkeys possibly “mimic 3 years worth of space radiation exposure to astronauts” for a future trip to Mars?

We can say the same about reactions to drugs. How many drugs have been pulled from the shelves when humans suffered side effects that were obviously different from those of lab animals? Plenty. It demonstrates animal tests cannot validate a safe product for humans. In essence, research that uses animals is a waste of time and our money and is waylaying progress for better products for humans. We have better alternatives that just aren’t being used.

The final postcard concerns passing the Great Ape Protection Act (HR 1326) and addresses our reps in the House, which is John Dingell for our area of Michigan. HR 1326 is currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce of which Rep. Dingell is Chairman Emeritus. I wrote to him earlier about passage of this bill and he agrees and responded, “great apes are highly intelligent and social animals and research lab environments involving invasive research cannot meet their complex social and psychological needs.” But he still needs urging to cosponsor this bill.

One of the original sponsors of the Great Ape Protection Act, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland is also a scientist who formerly worked with chimpanzees on research projects. He stated: “I believe the time has come to limit invasive research on these animals and rigorously apply EXISTING alternatives.”

If that isn’t from the horse’s mouth. There are many other researchers that have spoken out against use of primates. I remember a segment on TV about a researcher who just refused to work with great apes any longer the day he actually saw one cry. It was too much for him, the icing on the cookie so to speak. He did the televised segment to enlighten people that this practice should be stopped as it has in many European countries.

Stopping research on all animals is not a far out proposition. Physicians, researchers, and scientists have all stated there are better alternatives now. Staying the status quo by continuing animal experiments is detrimental to advancements for our health. And IDA is right. Stop funding animal experiments and increase funding for the alternatives. It’s our money. We should be calling the shots here. After 60+ years we still don’t have a cure for cancer. It’s a good example of why we need to change the way we go about doing things in the health industry.

More info from IDA’s website. Donate if you can for animal and human welfare:

https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Donation2?2200.donation=form1&df_id=2200.

Contact Rep. Dingell to cosponsor this bill in the committee he chairs:

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.

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Saturday, April 24th, World Day for Animals in Laboratories

Saturday marks the end of awareness for “Animals in Laboratories” week to help end their cruel, and unnecessary treatment. Some 20,000,000 will die this year in U.S. labs. I have belonged to organizations like NAVS and PCRM for years. These organizations have made legitimate arguments against the use of animals in experiments. As medicine advances, the arguments become more and more substantiated. The U.S. is one of the top 3 abusers of animals in experiments for one reason, money. Animals are cheap and plentiful. The people that collect and/or raise animals for experiments prosper. Grants from the government roll in for experiments that are many times just plain cruel and unnecessary.
Per Science Insider: “National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins says he’s pleased with the $1 billion raise, to $32.1 billion, that NIH is slated to get in the president’s 2011 budget. It may be a modest 3.2% raise, but aside from the $10.4 billion NIH got last year in Recovery Act money, the $1 billion is the largest increase proposed by the Administration for NIH in 8 years.”

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/02/nih-director-be.html.

From the National Anit-Vivisection Society or NAVS:

Anti-vivisectionists use a two-pronged argument to substantiate their case against animal experimentation. They oppose animal experimentation on both ethical and scientific grounds. Both perspectives of this argument provide compelling testimony that vivisection is cruel and inadequate, and that it wastes time, money and resources that could be better put to use in relieving human suffering.

Why, then, do researchers continue to conduct and defend animal experiments in light of insurmountable evidence, even from within the scientific community, that it provides meaningless results? The answers are many and varied, but they all lead down the same path: money.

There is great deal of spin control in medical research. Werner Hartinger, M.D. a surgeon in West Germany stated in 1989, “There are, in fact, only two categories of doctors and scientists who are not opposed to vivisection: those who don’t know enough about it, and those who make money from it.”

http://www.navs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ain_sci_defend.

From In Defense of Animals or IDA:

If you think all animal research is used to treat and cure life-threatening conditions, think again.
Indeed, when it comes to animal research funded with your tax dollars, every day is April Fool’s Day. Every year, the federal government, led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spends billions of tax dollars to underwrite biomedical experiments on animals. As Americans prepare to file their annual tax returns, In Defense of Animals unveils its “Top 10 Reasons Why Animal Research is a Cruel Joke” in recognition of ridiculous, wasteful, and perverse research.

Selected from scientific papers published in 2009 and 2010 (as well as one from 2008), these experiments were funded by the NIH, approved by federally mandated oversight committees, and published in peer-reviewed journals. These experiments—the cream of the crop—show that your tax dollars and animals’ lives are frivolously wasted on research that adds nothing to medical progress and tells us nothing we care to know—or didn’t know already. One can only wonder what happens in the experiments that don’t get published…

Please excuse the sexual content. I’m just quoting here.

All of the following are actual experiments conducted on live animals with your money:

10) 4 OUT OF 5 SCIENTISTS SURVEYED RECOMMEND EJACULATION TO RATS Four researchers at the University of Western Ontario’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and one researcher at the University of Cincinnati studied whether male rats enjoyed ejaculation or intromission (the insertion of the penis into the vagina) more. Their data support the hypothesis that there is a hierarchy of sexual pleasure, with ejaculation at the top!

9) CHIMPS IN WORLD’S WORST ORPHANAGE CONDITIONS This experiment that separated 46 baby chimps from their mother’s was basically to test for separation anxiety and development based on interaction. This went on for 30 years, costing billions! Published results of experiments at this facility included, “Sex differences in rhesus monkey toy preferences” and “Androgen-induced yawning in rhesus monkey females.” *** Conditions that were “standard care” at primate centers until the 1990s! ***

8) THANKS TO THESE SCIENTISTS, CASTRATED HAMSTERS CAN STILL GET IT UP How much testerone does it take? That’s what this experiment amounted to.

7) RATS TRAPPED IN UNCOMFORTABLE PLACES FOR A LONG TIME GET FREAKED OUT We spent money on this.*** Monkeys too! ***

6) MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN RUMINANT HISTORY Frst ruminant species (sheep) used to study otoacoustic emissions (sounds produced by the inner ear). The sheep were given sex hormones or castrated to see what sounds they produce? This was already studied on humans and rhesus monkeys.

5) DON’T CASTRATE YOUR CHILDREN, SAY SCIENTISTS\*** National Institute of Mental Health intramural researchers at the NIMH Primate Core Facility in Poolesville, MD, found that castrated male monkeys showed more subordinate behavior and less dominant behavior than intact male monkeys. This research facility received half a billion tax dollars in 2009 Recovery Act funding for infrastructure alone which boasts the only lab ever charged with multiple counts of criminal animal cruelty! Castrating primates, animals that are so incredibly close to human for no reason but for funding should be criminial.***

4)A FIGHT TO THE DEATH – BUT NOT BETWEEN LIZARDS Experimenters forced territorial male lizards to fight each another by introducing them into the same cage to test for aggression and social status. After 31 pairs of lizards had fought each other and recovered for three days, the experimenters killed them all. Twenty of these lizards were immediately decapitated, twenty were “restrained” (to stress them out) for 90 seconds in the hands of an experimenter to “restrict all movement except that necessary for respiration” before they were decapitated, and the last twenty-two were “restrained” for 90 seconds, then given 5 more minutes to live before they were decapitated. Another 12 lizards, belonging to a control group that had not been “fought,” were also decapitated. Of course, all of this was necessary to study the effects of stress on lizards of varying social status, and thereby, to advance modern medicine?

3)WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT? EXERCISE MAY HELP*** From the researcher who discovered that adopted children fare better than orphans and social support alleviates depression! ***

2) MICE NEED ONLY WHEEL, NOT SHOCKS, FOR WHEEL-RUNNING They found that voluntary wheel-running was a “repeatable” behavior with consistent performance measurements, whereas electrically shocking mice to motivate them to run to “exhaustion” led to inconsistent results.

Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Institute of Arthitis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

1) SCIENTISTS FIND VAGINAL STIMULATION MIGHT BE PLEASURABLE What? The NIH has received criticism – even from past directors – that it systematically funds incremental, redundant research and discourages revolutionary science using cutting-edge technology. As a response, the NIH has created “R21” grants for “High risk high reward studies that may lead to a breakthrough in a particular area.” It’s a great idea…in theory. In practice, the R21 grant is used to fund studies like this one at Dartmouth.

.

Anyone who knows about grants knows that to keep the money coming, one has to do something, anything whether valuable or not to keep the money rolling in. It’s all in how you write it up. The problem lies in the ethics of cruelty for dollars. It’s amoral, and quite frankly sadistic what we do to animals. The examples above were performed at top notch colleges like Harvard, and U of M. It’s unnecessary, extremely costly to all of us, and does no one any good, does not save lives.

Read more: http://idausa.org/ridiculousresearch/.

From Science Blogs website: “It is also a fact that the vast majority of animal testing serves more peripheral goals, categorized as applied studies that include cosmetic, chemical and pharmaceutical testing, and that there is a strong financial incentive to maintain the status quo.”

http://scienceblogs.com/primatediaries/2010/03/animal_testing_
statistics.php
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From Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine or PCRM:

Everyday, thousands of animals are experimented on and killed to create and test drugs, many of which will never help a sick human being. That’s why PCRM and an International coalition of scientists, doctors, and animal-protection organizations filed the Mandatory Alternatives Petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The petition asks the FDA to mandate the use of validated non-animal testing methods, when those alternatives exist, to create safer drugs for American consumers.
The FDA is currently reviewing the initiative. During this time, we need you to contact the FDA and urge the agency to mandate the use of validated alternatives to animal tests. Currently more than 120,000 PCRM members and supporters have signed petitions that have been sent to the FDA.
Contact: Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

http://www.pcrm.org/magazine/gm10spring/action.html.

The U.S. lags behind the European Union on humane animal use.

Per the BBC:

New Europe-wide controls to regulate experiments on animals are likely to be adopted in the next few months, replacing a 24-year-old EU directive.

For the first time, common rules to protect animals used for scientific research will apply in all 27 EU member states.

“This brings much of the rest of Europe close to the UK’s high standards” for animal welfare, Dr Simon Festing, chief executive of the lobby group Understanding Animal Research, told the BBC. With the introduction of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty last December, animal welfare became a core EU value, ranking alongside the fight against discrimination, promotion of gender equality and the protection of human health and welfare.

A new EU treaty article says the member states “shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals”.

A key principle embedded in the new legislation is the “three Rs” – Replace, Reduce, Refine.
The goals are to replace animals with alternative techniques wherever possible, to reduce the number of animals used in experiments, and to refine experiments as much as possible to minimize suffering.
And citizens of the U.K. are pretty adamant about animal rights. The UK was the first nation to offer protection to lab animals.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8619605.stm.

Dr. Albert Schwietzer’s philosophy of empathy for all living things is unsurpassed. His quotes about lab animals and pain:

Those who experiment upon animals by surgery and drugs,, or inoculate them with diseases in order to be able to help mankind by the result obtained, should never quiet their consciences with the conviction that their cruel action may in general have a worth purpose. In every single instance they must consider whether it is really necessary to demand of an animal this sacrifice for men. And they must take anxious care that the pain be mitigated as far as possible. (While a medical student, he had felt that much of the suffering inflicted on animals was entirely unnecessary).

How many outrages are committed in scientific institutions where anesthetics are often omitted to save time and trouble? How many also when animals are made to suffer agonizing tortures, only in order to demonstrate to students scientific truths, which are perfectly well known?

The very fact that the animal, as a victim of research has in his pain rendered such services to suffering men, has created a new and unique relation of solidarity between him and ourselves. The result is that a fresh obligation is laid on each of us to do as much good as we possibly can to all creatures in all sorts of circumstances. When I help an insect out of his troubles all that I do is to attempt to remove some of the guilt contracted through these crimes against animals.

Cottrell-Free, Ann, (Ed.). (1990). Animals, Nature & Albert Schweitzer. Washington, D.C: The Flying Fox Press

That’s what true empathy is. There are many people in the world that bear an excessive burden of empathy while others seem to have none, nor a conscience. It’s a good thing. Without empathy there wouldn’t be so many, many voices of protest and petitions to stop unnecessary treatment and/or killing of beautiful living things that cannot speak or defend themselves.

Take a look:

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This dog’s leg was deliberately shattered with a hammer for the purpose of inducing psychological stress. The dog received no anesthetic nor medical treatment during or after the injury was inflicted.

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