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

Media Coverage

Activists protest animal testing Group denounces work on monkeys done by Dartmouth professor, brain researcher

By Susan J. Boutwell The Valley News
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October 16, 2008 - 12:00 am

A small group of animal rights activists from Concord set up shop at the edge of the Dartmouth College Green yesterday, holding signs objecting to the use of monkeys by a college professor whose brain research includes tests on the primates.

Four protesters from the New Hampshire Animal Rights League timed their demonstration to coincide with what the national group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) has declared "national primate liberation week."

"It's important to let everyone know what's going on at Dartmouth," said Linda Dionne, president of the New Hampshire group.

Dionne's group doesn't condone research testing on any animal species, she said.

A student organization concerned with the treatment of animals - the Dartmouth Animal Welfare Group, or DAWG - declined to participate in the low-key demonstration, Dionne said, not wanting to sour its relationship with a college committee that oversees the care and use of animals in research and teaching.

Yale Cohen, the Dartmouth professor the rights group targeted, didn't want to be interviewed yesterday. Instead, he put out a statement through a college spokesman.

Cohen said animals used in his "work are under constant veterinary care to preserve and foster their health and well-being, and there is also constant veterinary supervision of my work."

He wrote that his studies involve "mechanisms underlying aspects of social cognition that are known to be important in humans for processing socially-relevant stimuli." The research might provide data used to treat such conditions as autism, schizophrenia and Asperger's syndrome, according to Cohen.

Dionne said her group focused on Cohen because they had found a research paper by him on the internet.

"Cohen is the name that seems to pop out most often, but there are other researchers" at Dartmouth using animals, she said.

She and others mentioned Cohen's name to passersby who stopped at their information table, asking students if they knew the professor.

Dionne said restraint methods used on research monkeys are "barbaric" and "like something out of the Dark Ages" but she had no information on Cohen's research methods.

She said she had hoped to find out about the care of monkeys in Cohen's lab at a meeting the protestors thought they were having with college officials. They had expected DAWG to arrange the meeting but that never happened, Dionne said.

Dartmouth spokesman Roland Adams Jr. said the college had received no request for a meeting. And a message left on the DAWG website was not answered.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service monitors the use of animals in research facilities. In 2007, the most recent year for which USDA reports are available, Dartmouth used more than 900 animals in research, including 265 hamsters, 243 pigs and 277 vole .   

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