Shame On UCLA’s Monkey Business

Photo credit: Brian Gunn /IAAPEA

(ANIMAL CRUELTY/ANIMAL TESTING) The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is world-renowned for its groundbreaking scientific studies as well as its innovative approach to contemporary health issues. The SoCal gem, however, recently earned the spotlight for very different reasons.

The university’s revolutionary scientific breakthroughs come at a hefty price due to laboratories’ use of live animals to conduct experiments. Several scandals have recently come to light, and UCLA faces retribution from a myriad of animal rights groups.

Macaques in the middle of a tribe's hierarchy tend to be more stressed. Photo Credit: Tim Laman, National Geographic
Macaques in the wild. Photo Credit: Tim Laman, National Geographic

National research watchdog group, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN), is calling for the release of five rhesus macaque monkeys from UCLA research laboratories.

According to SAEN, a USDA inspection report dated September 2013 shows UCLA is housing the monkeys at their facility where the wild animals are being used in recreational drug addiction experiments. Government bodies such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) are funding the research. 

“Drug addiction is a complex social issue; using non-human primates in addiction experiments has limited applicability to the real world,” Primatologist, Bob Ingersoll of Emmy-nominated documentary Project Nim said.

SAEN recently filed a lawsuit against UCLA for non-disclosure of public records relating to animal research studies.

“We are unable to verify exactly what experiments these monkeys have been used for because UCLA refuses to make that information available. However, the substance abuse experiments on animals have not produced any tangible results and are a waste of taxpayers money,” SAEN Communications Director Julia Orr said.

As of 2010, 125,752 primates are kept in United States laboratories for experimentation as well as for breeding purposes, according to the American Anti-Vivisection Society. Photo Credit: Mahran Fadlullah / Getty
As of 2010, 125,752 primates are kept in United States laboratories for experimentation as well as for breeding purposes, according to the American Anti-Vivisection Society. Photo Credit: Mahran Fadlullah / Getty

UCLA ought to learn from other prestigious facilities who are making progressive efforts in the dismantling of animal-based research.

Harvard Medical School, for example, is permanently closing its primate research center, and the University of Georgia announced in November that it’s retiring seventeen capuchin monkeys to a sanctuary in Florida.

“We are offering UCLA a chance to retire monkeys to a certified sanctuary that otherwise would be killed.” Said Michael Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN.

“There are more effective ways of discovering potential treatments for substance abuse than addicting monkeys to recreational drugs.”

SAEN is also pressuring the government to yank public funding as negligent mistreatment of animals, including creating genetically modified animals and decapitating animals with scissors, is prevalent.

SAEN is currently targeting the NIH and the National Eye Institute (NEI), prodding them to sever grants to UCLA research involving animals.

The majority of college campuses, like UCLA, respect animal rights by vowing to use humans in furry suits as alternatives to live animal mascots. Photo Credit:
Praised for their dedication to use human rather than live animal mascots, UCLA’s scientific research community is not as humane. Photo Credit:

Complaints about UCLA include:

  • Depriving animals of food and water without approval
  • Starting animal experiments without approval
  • The negligent death of 67 mice because of miscommunication between staff
  • Surgery performed without approval
  • Injecting tumors into mice after approval period had passed
  • Creating genetically modified zebra fish without approval
  • Use of unapproved methods to euthanize rat pups

UCLA’s flagrant disregard of animal welfare is shocking. Researchers’ appalling treatment has tarnished the institution’s reputation as well as the science they are pursuing.

SAEN will continue their request that UCLA release the five monkeys currently in possession, and is persistently pressuring the NIH and the NEI to revoke funding of research that has exhibited mistreatment of animals in laboratory experiments.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition asking UCLA to put an end to experiments on primates.

— Kayla Newcomer, exclusive to Global Animal