Animal Writes
From 9 November 2003 Issue

CU's Laudenslager Discontinues Experiments
Separating Infant Monkeys From Their Mothers
Contact: Rita Anderson - 303.618.3227
Barbara Millman - 303.274.4889

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center researcher Mark Laudenslager -- featured on national animal rights websites for his maternal separation experiments -- has ended his 17-year study, the Committee for Research Accountability recently learned.

The mission of the Colorado-based Committee for Research Accountability (CRA) is to end taxpayer-funded research on animals that is unnecessary and inhumane. Directed by Rita Anderson and Barbara Millman, CRA is a project of In Defense of Animals, a 20-year old animal rights group headquartered in Mill Valley, California.

In maternal deprivation experiments, started in the 1940s, researchers permanently separate infant monkeys from their mothers in order to analyze their psychological and physiological responses. By studying monkey infants' suffering, they believe they can predict how human children respond to inadequate parenting. However, it is already well documented that human infants fail to thrive without proper nurturing.

Since 1986 Laudenslager has conducted experiments in maternal separation with millions of dollars funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). (In maternal separation, unlike maternal deprivation, the young are returned to their mothers after a specified period of time.) Laudenslager claimed his most recent study, Behavioral and Physiological Consequences of Loss, would show if inadequate parenting had an effect on the progression of AIDS symptoms in HIV positive children.

In his experiments, Laudenslager sent two groups of three to four year-old monkeys -- one of which had been separated at an early age from their mothers -- to the University of Washington Regioonal Primate Research Center. Once there, both groups were injected with the Simian version of the HIV virus (SIV). After that, the monkeys were isolated in individual cages where they were monitored for the progression of symptoms of the Simian version of AIDS (SAIDS).

Dr. Pat Haight, IDA's Southwest Region Coordinator and an experimental psychologist, said, "In my opinion, questions regarding the relationship between parenting factors and the course of pediatric AIDS should be studied in the children and their families. The clinical literature itself says this is needed."

IDA president and veterinarian Elliot Katz said, "If a vote was taken for which 'research' project needed to end because of its animal cruelty and waste of tax dollars, Mark Laudenslager's mother separation experiments would win hands down."

"I'm thrilled that Professor Laudenslager has decided to end this project which subjected so many innocent monkeys to lives of fear, hopelessness and despair," said CRA's Rita Anderson. "We are hopeful that our organization can begin to work with CU officials to explore the many non-animal research options available.

Go on to Senate Okays Ban On Downed Animals
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