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From 4 April 2004 Issue

Free The CU 34 Monkeys Being Held By the University of Colorado

March, 2004 - Many Colorado citizens and taxpayers are unaware that primates are being held at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. The Colorado-based Committee for Research Accountability (CRA), a project of In Defense of Animals, is asking that CU immediately release the 34 captives who, according to CU, are being used to attract research grant money.

Since 1986, CU’s Mark Laudenslager has used macaque monkeys in maternal separation experiments to analyze the effects of separating infants from their mothers. One can only imagine the terror and confusion of the mother when her baby is torn from her, even for a short time. After being taken from their mothers, the babies can experience severe depression, anxiety, loneliness and fear, and may suffer lifelong psychological consequences. Some of these monkeys were eventually sent to a facility in Washington to be injected with the monkey version of HIV. The infected monkeys were all killed at the end of the experiment.

Maternal separation experiments are widely known and condemned by many because they are considered to be archaic, unnecessary and of questionable applicability to human health. After many years of public scrutiny, Laudenslager’s project ended recently.

The subjects of these experiments comprise between one-third and two-thirds of the monkeys in the Health Sciences Center breeding colony. Of these, 31 have been at the facility since birth, the oldest being nearly 18 years old. Another monkey, a 36 year-old who was stolen from her home in the wild, is slated as a potential subject for a terminal experiment.

After repeated requests, citizens remain unable to view the primate prison. Why is no one allowed even a short visit to this public institution funded by taxpayer dollars? We can only imagine.

In 2003, CRA was told that CU officials would be willing to discuss the possibility of release and retirement of the monkeys if a sanctuary was found which would be willing to accept them. However, when told that such a sanctuary had been found, CRA was told they must pay $10,000 to $15,000 per monkey to the University of Colorado for their release. CRA refuses to pay a ransom. Money will be needed to pay for new enclosures and food at their new home at the sanctuary.

According to Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado Professor of Biology and co-author with Dr. Jane Goodall of The Ten Trusts, “The University ought to release the ‘CU 34' to the sanctuary and stop using these wonderful beings as pawns in some heartless self-serving economic ploy. It would be nice to see some compassion and respect rather than cold negotiation.”

In connection with World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 17-24), we will be holding a peaceful VIGIL OF LIGHT at the Health Sciences Center at 8th and Colorado in Denver. Bring family, friends and flashlights at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16, 2004 to join together in asking the University of Colorado for their release.

In the meantime, please contact CU President Elizabeth Hoffman at 303-492-6201 to ask for the immediate release of the CU 34. To learn of other ways of helping, visit our website at www.freethecu34.org (sign the online petition) or call the Committee for Research Accountability at 303-618-3227 or rita@idausa.org

UPDATED 3/19/04

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