PETITION FOR THE RELEASE OF RHESUS MONKEYS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT AND FOR THE PERMANENT ABOLITION OF NONHUMAN PRIMATE RESEARCH AT ALL UNIVERSITY-AFFILIATED FACILITIES
University of Connecticut Administration
University of Connecticut Animal Rights Collective
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Rhesus monkeys are highly intelligent, sensitive and social beings with physiological and psychological needs as complex as our own. Research has stated that there is a close evolutionary relationship between us and rhesus monkeys and that our DNA differs by only 2\%. They exhibit abstract thinking and mathematical skills. This is an astonishing revelation and one that needs to be given considerable thought. If these animals are so similar to humans we need to reevaluate our relationship with them, in this case their non-consentual use for invasive, harmful research. Confining primates to laboratory cages, denying them their freedom, proper environmental stimulation, complex social interaction and deliberately subjecting them to systematic pain and suffering in experimental procedures is morally unjustifiable.
We live in an age of astonishing technology. Computerized alternatives and magnetic imaging are opening the door to a new world of research possibilities. These alternatives are cheaper, more effective, and more humane. In the case of Dr. Waitzmans research with rhesus monkeys, magnetic brain imaging (that can measure the activity of single cells) and non-invasive eye tracking on fully consenting human participants should be considered to replace the methods currently being used at the UCHC (which include drilling holes into the monkeys skulls and intentionally inflicting brain damage). Furthermore, research has shown that restraining nonhuman primates during research procedures causes them great distress and significantly confounds the neurological data we collect from them. With these factors in mind, there is no longer any justification for using these innocent animals for our own ends.
Dr. Waitzmans protocol expires on March 31, 2006 at which time we are requesting that these rhesus monkeys be rehabilitated and relocated to an accredited sanctuary that is mutually agreed upon between the UCONN Animal Rights Collective and the University administration. Furthermore, we request that a permanent moratorium be placed on the use of nonhuman primates in all biomedical research at all University-affiliated facilities.