Protesters Seek Primates' Freedom
By Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News
April 17, 2004
Several dozen animal lovers pleaded for sanctuary for
34 macaque monkeys Friday night, saying the primates have suffered and
served as research subjects long enough.
University of Colorado officials say the macaques
remain valuable for research and aren't going anywhere.
Animal rights organizations, led by the Committee for
Research Accountability, held a candlelight vigil near the macaques'
home at the CU Health Sciences Center near East Eighth Avenue and
Colorado Boulevard in Denver. One sign read: "CU, stop monkeying around
with our relatives. Free the CU 34."
"These animals have already been through experiments
and subjected to unknown tortures," group leader Rita Anderson said. She
was referring in particular to CU experiments in which mothers were
separated from their babies to see how it affected the babies' future
"They've been used for so many years in these
redundant and unnecessary experiments," she said.
Anderson has found a sanctuary in Oklahoma that will
accept the monkeys, 31 of which CU has raised from birth, she said. Most
range in age from 1 to 18.
But when she broached the idea to CU and started
talking money, confusion set in.
Anderson says she told CU officials an honorarium was
usually expected. She meant CU should pay something to the Oklahoma
sanctuary for the care of the macaques.
CU officials apparently thought she was saying she
would be willing to pay CU for the release of the monkeys.
When CU officials later told her replacing the monkeys
would cost $12,000 an animal, she was shocked. "We don't have any
money," she said.
CU officials said their colony of bonnet macaques is
one of only two outside India, and they don't have the money to replace
CU officials are reluctant to specify the experiments
they do, but Sladek's letter indicated monkeys are used for research
into Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Shauna Kane, who belongs to the CU animal-advocacy
student group Roots and Shoots, helped collect 1,600 signatures to save
Dr. Suzanne Morris, a retired pediatrician, said it
may be impractical to halt all animal research because of its medical
value, but that there is justification in freeing the macaques.
"Primates suffer so much like we do," she said. "If CU
is teaching students to be compassionate physicians, can't they show
appreciation for what these beings have done for our knowledge and show
some compassion for them?"
Copyright 2004, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights
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