Friday, October 17, 2008 5:47 AM EDT
By Pamela McLoughlin, Register Staff
Members of the group PETA unfurled a banner downtown Thursday
afternoon that said, “Yale Murders Monkeys,” referring to primates
the university uses in medical research, then spent an hour
peacefully making their point outside Yale University’s Psychiatry
Department on George Street.
But not too far away in Glastonbury, Barry Williams, who has
Parkinson’s Disease, is thankful every day for such research when
done ethically because he has benefitted physically and been given
hope from drugs that result from such testing.
“We’re so close to cures in a lot of diseases. ... It would be a
shame to stop that,” Williams said. “Obviously, we don’t want bad
treatment of animals.”
Williams said there is no other way in some cases than to test
medications using animals with systems similar to humans.
Tell that to Justin Goodman, research associate supervisor in the
Laboratory Investigation Department of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals. He was among four protesters who unfurled the
sign from a Route 34 overpass while wearing monkey masks.
While the group opposes experimentation techniques on many
animals, primates were the focus Thursday as it’s National Primate
Goodman and his group claim there are more than 160 primates in
Yale’s laboratories that, in the name of science, are mutilated,
injected with poison, forced to become addicted to drugs and
confined to steel cages. He said the psychiatry department at Yale
does a lot of the experiments with primates, including injecting
their brains with toxins to make them schizophrenic.
“It’s morally unjustifiable,” he said. “They have a right to lead
their lives. ... They suffer immensely in these labs.”
He said primates are close to humans in many ways, and that PETA
knows of the treatment and numbers by reading studies published by
Goodman said many federal tax dollars go toward the research.
But Yale spokesman Robin Hogen defends the practice, and said all
research involving animals at Yale University is done humanely and
in keeping with guidelines.
“This is not about animal rights, it’s about human rights,” Hogen
said. “The human use of animals in research is more than justified
for the benefits to human kind.”
Hogen said virtually all medical advances of the last century
would have been impossible without animal research, including
creation of antibiotics, blood transfusions, dialysis, organ
transplants and nearly every modern treatment to cure disease and
“Today researchers at Yale are working on new therapies and
diagnostic tools for a broad range of terminal diseases including
Parkinson’s, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s and
Muscular Dystrophy, all of which rely on animal models,” Hogen said.
“Our faculty employ animals only when there are no alternative
models for advancing their research.”
He said Yale takes seriously its responsibility for humane care
of animals and its laboratories comply with or exceed all federal
regulations and independent accreditation standards.
Chelsea Rhodes, a part-time administrative assistant at Yale
University and co-founder of Yale Affiliates Animal Rights Network,
casts her vote for the monkeys.
“As a Yale employee and New Haven resident, I think people are
really horrified,” by the research using animals and tens of
thousands of dollars spent on the research, she said. “When it comes
to these primates, they’re similar to humans in all ways that
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