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|Originally Posted: 8 Aug 2010|
Urge The University of British Columbia to Disclose Information about Their Laboratory Animals
The University of British Columbia (UBC), one of the largest bio-medical campuses in Canada, that you demand transparency about the tens of thousands of animals they experiment on. Until now, there has been NO transparency, the public is in the dark about what goes on in their labs.
UBC President/Vice-Chancellor Stephen J. Toope
INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS
UBC is one of the largest bio-medical campuses in Canada.
Each year, UBC’s Animal Care Center (ACC) distributes some
100,000 animals, including cats, pigs, mice, rabbits, rats,
non-human primates and others to dozens of UBC-affiliated
research projects. According to the Canadian Council on Animal
Care (CCAC) most recent data, the numbers of animals used in
“science” in Canada have risen steadily, with nearly 2.3 million
animals in 2008, up from less than 1.8 million in 1998. As the
home of a rapidly expanding industry of animal experimentation,
UBC is at the forefront of this trend.
Experiments in Canada are divided into five different “Categories of Invasiveness.” In 2008 nearly 800,000 animals – including cats, pigs, and non-human primates – across Canada were exposed to experiments that caused “moderate to severe distress or discomfort.” Additionally, more than 100,000 animals were subjected to the highest level of invasiveness, involving “severe pain near, at, or above the pain tolerance threshold of unanaesthetized conscious animals.”
Most notable, has been the continued use at UBC of non-human
primates in neurological experiments. The rhesus macaque, an
Asian species, has been used extensively in Parkinson's disease
research. The monkeys are typically subjected to brain damage
that models the degenerative disease and then treated with
various methaphetamine and electroconvulsive shock therapies.*
*Sources: UBYSSEY, January 25, 2008, "Cruel Intentions?
Animal Testing at UBC”
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY
Despite the extensive research UBC is performing on animals, the university, as well as the CCAC – the agency that oversees research on animals – has provided little information about its activities. In fact, the public is largely in the dark about UBC’s experiments on animals, even though much of the research is funded by taxpayers, student fees, alumni gifts, and private donations. Though the CCAC conducts assessments of UBC’s research to ensure UBC complies with CCAC voluntary guidelines, those assessments have not been made public. Nor has critical data about UBC’s research on animals or details of procedures used on animals been released. In short, there is little transparency at UBC, giving the impression the university doesn’t want the public to know what is happening to animals behind closed doors.
SAMPLE LETTER TO UBC PRESIDENT TOOPE
Dear UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Stephen J. Toope:
I understand UBC conducts extensive research on a variety of
animals, including pigs, rats, non-human primates, cats, mice,
rabbits, and other animals. Much of that research is funded by
the public, through taxpayer dollars, student fees, alumni
gifts, and private donations. Yet, few are aware UBC experiments
on animals and that some of the procedures used are highly
invasive and painful.
UBC – a public institution that promotes critical thinking,
debate, transparency, and freedom of speech – has been less than
forthcoming about its research on animals. But the public has
the right to know about such research. Many, like me, vigorously
oppose vivisection because we find it ethically at odds with our
values of compassion and of highly questionable scientific
Information about UBC’s animal research and decisions by its Animal Care Committee should be made widely available so that prospective students, current and potential donors, and the public can make informed choices about whether to support UBC. As you may know, the US has a far more transparent system. Information, data, and reports about animal research are posted at website databases through the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture. With that in mind, I urge UBC to post the following information online:
Finally, I urge UBC to pursue alternatives to research on
animals as other universities have done and ultimately end all
research on animals. I look forward to your response. Thank you.
Thank you for everything you do for animals!