UW students were greeted with the sound of monkey screeches and people dressed in monkey suits as they walked between the quad and Red Square on their first day of class.
It was all part of a protest by PETA and the Northwest Animal Rights Network against UW’s Northwest Center for Primate Research, which conducts experiments on monkeys for medical research.
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PETA protesters say researchers at the lab infect monkeys with diseases, from malaria to zika. PETA’s Lisa Jones-Engel, who used to be a researcher in the UW monkey lab, said she left her former job because she could not stand the animal cruelty she witnessed.
“You can do anything you want to animals here at the University of Washington,” Jones-Engel said. “You can have a monkey chaired for 12 hours, you can restrict their food and fluid throughout the day, you can impact their heads with percussive instruments.”
Furthermore, Jones-Engel said the entire work is fruitless because monkeys are very different from humans.
“Non-human animals do not replicate the diseases and the pathology that we see in humans accurately,” Jones-Engel said. “Experiments on diseased, stressed, caged monkeys are not the pathway to human health.”
Instead, she wants human tissues and cells used in research.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the university several times in recent years for its practices at the lab. PETA is also suing the university over the lab.
UW told KIRO Newsradio in a statement that this research will lead to finding cures for diseases like HIV/AIDS. The university added that it hopes, one day, animals won’t be needed in this research.
“Whenever possible, we use non-animal models for research such as cell cultures and simulation and we continue to seek out these alternatives,” the university said.
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