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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Activists allege animal cruelty

Volume 71, Issue 38, Thursday, October 20, 2005

UH official denies animals were abused in College of Optometry

By Ashley Harris
The Daily Cougar

Passersby were accosted with graphic images of mutilated primates Wednesday during a Houston-based non-profit research watchdog organization's press conference in front of the Optometry Building.

In Solidarity with Animals alleges that for the past 32 years, the College of Optometry has used inhumane practices on primates for research by using restraint chairs, implementing blinding methods and impairing the vision of infant primates to test animals' recovery rate, if there was recovery at all.

"Regardless of any human benefit, morally, this is wrong," said Melissa Stringfellow, the group's co-chair.

Alec McClure/The Daily Cougar

Members of In Solidarity with Animals, a Houston-based non-profit research watchdog organization, held a press conference in front of the Optometry Building on Wednesday to unveil photos that were allegedly taken of animal cruelty in a College of Optometry lab.

A University press release stated all animals used in research are acquired from proper sources in compliance with local, state and federal guidelines and all receive proper care.

"The group's Web site has already displayed a provocative photograph on it that purports to be of a UH lab animal, and we have verified that it is false and misleading," University spokesman Eric Gerber said in an e-mail to The Daily Cougar. "What documentation has this group provided to prove that their new photographs are any less inaccurate?"

The group said it received the information from an anonymous, but credible, "concerned citizen" who has strong ties to the college.

"All I can say is that this person used to work or still works in the College of Optometry," Stringfellow said.

The Optometry lab might not be the only lab on campus that abuses the primates, Stringfellow said.

"We really don't know if this is the only use of animals," Stringfellow said. "Our sources tell us that there are other labs like this across campus."

The group will release an investigative report this week accusing UH and other universities of inhumane treatment against animals. The unveiling of these images coincides with National Primate Liberation Week, a nationwide event to free primates from mistreatment through testing and research.

"We're really just trying to raise some awareness," Stringfellow said. "These animals go through unmitigated pain, and these tests are through publicly funded, tax-paying dollars happening on campus and people don't even know about it."

The Cougar on Wednesday could not reach UH faculty or administrators who work directly with animal testing.


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