Action For Animals picket for Primate Liberation Week
Lee Ann Holman Daily Texan Staff
Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Members of an Austin animal advocacy group protested primate
research and animal treatment in front of UT’s Seay psychology
building Tuesday as part of National Primate Liberation Week.
Timothy Verret, a member of the Austin-based Action For Animals,
said UT psychology professor Wilson Geisler and associate psychology
professor Eyal Seidemann perform “cruel and barbaric” research with
“We don’t understand what they’re studying on monkeys that they
can’t study on humans,” Verret said. “We just want them to seek
alternate means of research and stop wasting taxpayers’ money.”
Attempts made by The Daily Texan to reach Geisler and Seidemann
proved unsuccessful. Seidemann’s research interests include “how
sensory information and motor commands represented and processed in
the brain,” according to the UT neurobiology Web site.
Verret said federal funding by the National Institutes of Health
has given UT a combined $5 million to use on five-year programs to
experiment on primates.
Glen Otto, director of UT’s Animal Resources Center and a
board-certified veterinarian, said his job at the University is to
make sure the animal resources department follows rules and
regulations set by the government to ensure tax-funded research is
“I pretty strongly feel that the animals here are being treated
well,” Otto said. Otto said UT housed a total of 16 primates last
year — three of them not used for research.
All of the animals come from commercial services, companies that
breed primates for research. Most of the animals will eventually be
euthanized to study their tissue, Otto said.
Amelia Hall, a research assistant in the neurobiology department,
said it is very important to experiment on primates to better
understand human behavior. Hall said she has seen some of the
research methods performed on monkeys, which require sedation and
the opening of monkeys’ heads.
The animal group cited a report by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW,
an animal watchdog research group from Ohio, showing that primates
at UT experience water and food deprivation.
The report said neurological protocols require scientists to
monitor the activity of individual neurons in the primate’s brain.
“The preferred methodology for monitoring these individual cells
is to literally hardwire into them using micro-electrodes,” the
report said. “This procedure requires that the skull of the primate
be opened (holes are drilled in the skull) and recording cylinders
are attached over the holes through which the micro-electrodes are
Return to Media