Colorado Monkey lab closing
The University of Colorado Health Science center has decided to shut down a controversial monkey lab. The monkeys have been involved in several experiments including AIDS research and brain operations. Many of the monkeys used were euthanized after the experiments.Some people have voiced concern about the safety and security of the monkeys at the facility. In August 2004 animal rights activists were successful in gaining the release of video from inside the lab.The monkeys will be moved from the campus over the next several months, CU says. Most of them will go to another primate research facility at Wake Forest University.CU officials say the move will be beneficial for the research involved as well as the animals. The monkeys will get to spend some time outdoors in their new home.
This is great, information from http://www.freethecu34.org/updates.html
September 1, 2006
Contact: Rita Anderson (303) 527-3372 or (303) 618-3227
In Defense of Animals Applauds Transfer of Monkeys to Sanctuary Animal Protection Organization Lauds CU Regents for “Doing the Right Thing”
After a years-long battle to convince the University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center (UCDHSC) to end the use of primates in alcoholism experiments and transfer the monkeys to a sanctuary, members of the Committee for Research Accountability (CRA), a Project of In Defense of Animals (IDA), are celebrating the relocation of eleven bonnet macaque monkeys to a Texas sanctuary.
The monkeys, who range in age from infants to 20 years old, have all lived at UCDHSC since birth. They were the subjects of widely criticized maternal separation and alcohol studies led by researcher Mark Laudenslager.
“We’re delighted for these animals who have suffered loss and deprivation for years at CU,” said Elliot M. Katz, DVM, president of IDA. “They have lived most of their lives in a 100 year-old basement which did not even meet federal standards and will finally be able to live in the relative freedom of a sanctuary without the fear of being subject to cruel, ludicrous experiments in the name of so-called‘science.’ There they will be able to feel the sun on their backs and the grass under their feet for the first time in their lives.”
CU has been under fire since Laudenslager’s maternal separation experiments ended in October 2003. Earlier this year the University raised public ire when approximately 37 bonnet macaque monkeys were sent to Wake Forest University (WFU) in North Carolina. The monkeys at WFU will continue to be the subject of CU Laudenslager’s experiments to determine if poor mothering is a contributing factor to alcohol abuse in adolescent monkeys. Documents obtained by IDA indicate that Laudenslager will continue to conduct his studies long-distance from CU in Denver, even though the primate subjects of his experiments will be 2,000 miles away.
“We are grateful that CU is doing the right thing by sending these monkeys to a sanctuary,” said Rita Anderson, Director of CRA, which spearheaded the campaign. “In this day and age with modern research technologies and years of clinical studies, to attempt to addict monkeys to alcohol in archaic ‘research’ is frivolous and unacceptable. We hope this will be the end of all primate research at UCDHSC.”
For more information please visit www.FreeTheCU34.org.
UPDATE - MARCH 19, 2006
Talbott: Drunken monkeys? CU sees no evil
March 19, 2006
Boulder Daily Camera Newspaper, Boulder, CO Research shows that young monkeys who are separated from their mothers secrete extra stress-related hormones.
Young monkeys separated from mothers and friends are more depressed — and more susceptible to illness — than motherless monkeys who can see their friends.
Monkeys with inattentive mothers are more likely than well-mothered monkeys to drink too much alcohol. And monkeys who are hung by their toes in solitary confinement are likely to have a stroke.
OK, I invented that last one. But the first three examples summarize actual research conducted on bonnet macaque monkeys at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Surely, all would agree that stringing up monkeys just to measure their reaction is cruel. So why does CU not see that it is cruel to imprison monkeys for life, rip away their mothers and quantify the conditions leading to monkey alcohol abuse? The university refuses even to admit that its research raises these ethical issues.
The research on maternal separation, which lasted the better part of two decades, is concluded. But the research on monkey alcohol use continues. The experiments, funded by an $800,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, will continue even though the monkeys are being spirited off to another state.
Last month, CU confirmed that its colony of bonnet macaque monkeys — known as the "CU 34," for the number of monkeys in 2004 — are being sent to Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The university suggested the move is to help the monkeys.
The primate lab at Wake Forest includes outdoor areas, which will more closely approximate the animals' natural habitat. That might sound humane, but even Alcatraz had a recreation yard. So after two decades of indoor captivity, the monkeys' days will more closely approximate those of Al Capone's prison life.
CU might even hope to score PR points with the move. But advocates for the animals are not thrilled. Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability, which has pressed for the monkeys' release since 2004, said CU officials seemed "perplexed" that she wasn't happy about the news.
In fact, CU documents show, the goal is to improve conditions for the researchers. "Sending them somewhere else is simply nothing but geography," she said.
She is right. Mark Laudenslager, the CU Health Sciences Center professor who's researched the captive bonnet macaques for nearly two decades, will still direct the poor-mothering, alcohol-abuse study, which will continue at Wake Forest.
There, Laudenslager's team will try to confirm that monkeys "experiencing poor-quality maternal care" while growing up will be more aggressive and consume more alcohol voluntarily. Laudenslager hypothesizes that this tendency will be particularly pronounced in monkeys with low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked with depression in humans.
A similar experiment could be conducted on humans (culled from jail or the drunk tank, perhaps). Human subjects differ from macaques in key respects. They can consent to be studied. Their physiology is relevant because it is, well, human. And at the end of the study, they will be free.
Monkey research is presumed germane to humans because macaques share 92 percent to 95 percent of the gene sequence with humans. Non-human primates resemble us in other critical ways, too. They think. They emote. They suffer. That should give us pause.
CU says it exceeds the legal standards for animal care. But that which is legal isn't therefore right. Shipping CU's monkeys to North Carolina does not render the research ethical. It only gives the ill-mothered, friend-deprived monkeys the chance to get some fresh air.
Reach Clint Talbott at (303) 473-1367 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More info: www.freethecu34.org.
UPDATE - FEBRUARY, 2006 Please also See Press Releases: Denver, CO "IDA Blasts CU Plans to Send Monkeys to Wake Forest for Research" Winston-Salem, NC "Controversial Monkey Transfer from Colorado University To Wake Forest Medical Center Decried"
February 2006 letter to CU February 2006 letter to Wake Forest University
The primate colony at CU that previously numbered 34 has now grown to 48 bonnet macaque monkeys. Mark Laudenslager has been breeding these unfortunate monkeys in a feeble attempt to determine if poor mothering in monkeys is a contributing factor to alcohol abuse in adolescent monkeys. Imagine how many human lives will be saved if he learns the answer! Imagine the scientific value!
Now, because of the negative publicity and pressure to end Laudenslager's pathetic projects and release the monkeys, CU has, in their usual way of ducking the real issue, decided to get the monkeys off their back (yes, pun intended). Approximately 38 monkeys are scheduled to be sent to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Interestingly, even though CU wants to rid themselves of the monkeys and the accompanying bad press, the ludicrous alcohol study will continue. Laudenslager plans to oversee the project from the CU Health Sciences Center even though the monkeys will be 2,000 miles away! He plans to make frequent trips to North Carolina to visit his research subjects. This makes about as much sense as the so-called research itself!
Based on CU's documents, Laudenslager has told Wake Forest officials he wants them to house the monkeys because they have more adequate "observation" facilities. Perhaps Wake Forest is unaware of the real reason, the fact that CU simply cannot handle any more bad press, be it athletics, professors or monkeys! February 2006 letter to Wake Forest University
When we asked for the retirement of the monkeys to a sanctuary in December 2003, CU responded by saying it would cost $10,000 to $15,000 per monkey in replacement costs. Now, however, these monkeys are slated to be given to Wake Forest, free of charge.
CU officials seem to believe if they send the monkeys to an institution two-thirds of the way across the country, activists will be appeased! NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH! They fail to understand it is the individual monkeys we are concerned about, not the location of their torture. Moving them to Wake Forest is nothing but geography!
Wake Forest plans to first use the monkeys in the alcohol study. They then plan to move them on to other research horrors at their institution, or sell them to other research facilities for their use and abuse. In addition, they may continue to breed them at Wake Forest in order to have a constant supply of babies for other unknown terrors!
Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability (CRA) recently met with interim Health Sciences Chancellor Gregory Stiegmann. After being told two years ago that "no amount of effort" would bring about a meeting with officials there, she was quite pleased that he agreed to meet with her. She found him to be a very thoughtful person, who listened without interruption to all she had to say.
Below you will find the text of a letter Rita presented to him at the meeting. The letter outlines most of what was discussed.
One of the issues they talked about was the possible release of 10 of the monkeys. The Chancellor instructed the CU legal counsel to work with Rita and CRA to place these monkeys in a sanctuary. Since very few, if any, sanctuaries are able to take primates without funding, Rita asked the Chancellor for CU's financial assistance. She does not yet have a response.
CU is likely currently paying for the care of many of these monkeys who are not covered under Laudenslager's National Institutes of Health grant. They paid for their care for the six months between Laudenslager's last fiasco (17 years of maternal separation experiments) and the current equally ridiculous alcohol study. Since they paid for the monkeys while they were living at CU, they certainly can and should pay for their future care. These institutions must learn they cannot simply "use and abuse" these wonderful sentient beings and then throw them out like a piece of leftover cabbage!
We'll keep you updated on future developments. In the meantime, please contact CU and Wake Forest to ask that these monkeys be released to sanctuaries instead of living the remainder of their years in fear and anguish!
LETTER TO CU HEALTH SCIENCES CHANCELLOR GREGORY STIEGMANN
Dear Chancellor Stiegmann:
Congratulations on your appointment as interim Chancellor of UCDHSC. In the next few months you will have the opportunity to make many positive changes for CU and the Health Sciences Center.
Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. I asked for this meeting to discuss matters of concern to many citizens. The issues of primate research and Mark Laudenslager’s (“Laudenslager”) unnecessary and cruel experiments are being discussed across the nation and even around the world.
Many citizens are outraged at the fact that their tax dollars are being used to conduct experiments concerning monkeys and alcohol when there is a desperate need for credible research that will actually contribute to human health and save human lives. I frequently speak with people who are shocked and stunned to learn that the University of Colorado would encourage such a waste of money and lack of ethical concern.
We have collected approximately 8,300 signatures asking for the release of the monkeys to a sanctuary. Many of these petition signatures have already been presented to former CU President Elizabeth Hoffman and the CU Regents.
As you know, for 17 years Laudenslager conducted redundant maternal separation experiments on monkeys to determine what happens when a baby monkey is separated from his/her mother. The project, which ended in October 2003, cost taxpayers millions of dollars. This type of research was conducted extensively in the 1950's and 1960's. We already know that babies do not thrive when deprived of nurturing.
When that project ended, I asked for the release of the monkeys. I was told that CU officials would discuss it with me if I found a primate sanctuary that was willing to take the monkeys. When I found such a place, accredited by both national sanctuary associations, I immediately called the Health Sciences Center. In response I received a letter saying it would cost me $10,000 to $15,000 in replacement costs for the release of the monkeys.
At the time I was unaware that, as a condition of the approval of this project by CU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (“IACUC”), the researcher had already agreed to release the monkeys at the conclusion of the study. This was not done. In fact, the former veterinarian, Dr. Ron Banks, was fired because he did not agree that the monkeys should continue to be held at CU. One of the IACUC members who also disagreed was not reappointed to the committee. Two additional IACUC members resigned.
For months afterwards, Laudenslager sent a series of rather frantic emails to the NIH, asking for money to fund a new experiment so he wouldn’t lose the monkeys. He stated, “My administration is getting on me about unsupported monkeys” and “I am under extreme pressure by my institution to cover the per diems for the genotyped monkeys”.
Finally, in July 2004, after months of begging, he was funded and began yet another ludicrous 5-year study to determine if poor mothering in monkeys is a contributing factor to alcohol abuse in adolescent monkeys. For the first year alone, funding for this project amounted to $768, 509.
How many human lives will be saved by knowing this information? Little will be gained other than to provide this researcher with a job and a paycheck.
In December 2004, in response to a letter I wrote to CU, Dr. John Sladek sent a 5 page document to the CU Regents. The first page was mostly a weak attempt to convince them that I was perhaps a member of the Animal Liberation Front, PETA or was possibly a violent terrorist. The following 4 pages were devoted to what he considers the merits of animal research. However, never once then or at any other time have I heard him discuss the merits of Laudenslager’s research projects. I can only conclude he has nothing positive to offer.
Clinical alcohol studies with human subjects have already been conducted. One such study shows that children of “hands-on” parents - those who have established a household culture of rules and expectations for their teen’s behavior and monitor what their teens do - are at one quarter the risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs as teens with “hands-off” parents.
Joseph A. Califano, Jr. is the chairman and president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and the former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He states that, “One factor that does more to reduce teens’ substance abuse risk than almost any other is parental engagement . . . Parental engagement in children’s lives is the key to ridding our nation of the scourge of substance abuse.”
Why then is CU concerned about the connection between monkey parenting and monkey alcohol abuse? Not only is there a vast difference between environmental factors for humans and monkeys, there are differences between parenting behavior in various species of monkeys.
I recently learned of the possibility that most of the monkeys at CU will be transferred to Wake Forest University (WFU); however Laudenslager’s study is slated to continue. He will be making several trips to WFU each year but will be mainly overseeing the project long-distance. Interestingly enough, no money will be generated for CU, such as the $10,000 to $15,000 per monkey that I was quoted. The monkeys are to be given to WFU free of charge.
Does CU believe that by moving the monkeys to another location there will be no further negative publicity for them? Nothing could be further from the truth. Given the fact that Laudenslager continues to work at CU, with their approval to waste our tax dollars, and the fact that his highly questionable study continues to involve primates, we will not only continue but will step up our efforts. Lest anyone is concerned, however, this will not involve terrorist or violent activities.
I do plan to attend and speak at the March 1 Regents meeting in Colorado Springs, and will be inviting the press to hear what I have to say.
Health Sciences officials are well aware that I have been in contact with a primate sanctuary (accredited by both national sanctuary organizations) willing to take some of the monkeys. However, it has recently come to my attention that CU officials have been making anonymous phone calls in an attempt to find a sanctuary willing to take some of the monkeys with no funding being offered. Much negative media attention has already been generated in the newspapers and on television about Laudenslager and the monkeys. I have attached a small sample, one article from the Boulder Daily Camera and a second one from the Rocky Mountain News. Also included is a letter I wrote and presented to the CU Regents at their March 23, 2005 meeting. The attached brochure continues to be distributed nationwide.
Our goal has always been two-fold: 1) to stop Laudenslager’s pointless and wasteful studies using monkeys, and 2) to obtain the release and retirement of these monkeys to a sanctuary, with funding assistance from UCDHSC. Since CU was able to provide for the monkeys for several months between Laudenslager’s experiments, and I believe may still be providing financial assistance to many monkeys not covered under his current study, it stands to reason that CU would be willing to help provide for the monkeys’ future. This would be an excellent way to begin making it back into the good graces of the public and the press.
Chancellor Stiegmann, I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this very important matter. You have an excellent opportunity to make a positive impression on the public when they see that CU and UCDHSC is doing the right thing. Sending the monkeys to another institution is nothing but geography and does not solve any problems, for CU or for Wake Forest. It simply takes our work to two locations instead of one.
I ask that you take immediate steps to terminate Laudenslager’s alcohol study entitled “Early experience and low 5-HT markers in alcohol abuse”, and that you make the decision to release the monkeys to accredited primate sanctuaries with financial assistance from the University.
I look forward to meeting with you. Thank you for taking the time to look into this very important matter.
Rita L. AndersonCommittee for Research Accountability, a Project of In Defense of Animals
LETTER TO WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
February 23, 2006Nathan O. Hatch, PresidentWake Forest UniversityBox 7305Reynolda StationWinston-Salem, NC 27109
Richard H. Dean, President and CEOWake Forest University Health SciencesWake Forest UniversityBox 7305Reynolda StationWinston-Salem, NC 27109
Gentlemen: As you may be aware, the University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center (UCDHSC) is considering the transfer of several groups of bonnet macaque monkeys to your primate facility. The ostensible reason is that UCDHSC lacks adequate observation facilities for primates. You may not be aware, however, of the apparent desire of CU to rid itself of these monkeys, who have been used in questionable and controversial research and as a result have generated much negative publicity for the university.
The source of the controversy has been the experiments of Mark Laudenslager, whose current study is entitled “Early experience and low 5-HT markers in alcohol abuse.” Prior to this, Laudenslager conducted maternal separation studies on primates for 17 years. Laudenslager’s work has drawn fire from psychologists and other professionals, and has garnered the attention, not only of the local press, but also national media. Attached are two of the many Colorado newspaper articles that have appeared in the last 2-1/2 years concerning these studies and other issues at UCDHSC.
According to CU records, the plan is for Laudenslager to continue to direct his research from CU, even though the monkeys would be located in North Carolina, 2000 miles away. On this fact alone, the motivation for this transfer is apparent.
The Committee for Research Accountability has asked CU to terminate Laudenslager’s experiments and retire the monkeys to a sanctuary. (See attached letter to UCDHSC Chancellor Gregory Stiegmann, with whom I met last week.) By this letter, we are officially asking Wake Forest to decline to participate in this project by refusing to accept the monkeys and advocating instead for their retirement to a sanctuary.
Should Wake Forest decide to proceed with the transfer, I can assure you that the negative publicity and community activism will follow the primates to your university. Thousands of citizens have signed letters and postcards decrying both the treatment of the monkeys and the waste of tax dollars on this type of research. We hope to inform these citizens that Wake Forest has taken a stand for good science and the humane treatment of animals by declining to join CU in this questionable venture.
For your information, I have included a sample brochure, pin, window sticker and t-shirt that have been distributed widely across the United States, and will give you an indication of the level of opposition to CU’s plan. If you have questions or wish to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Rita L. AndersonCommittee for Research Accountability, A Project of In Defense of Animals
Enclosurescc: William C. Gordon, Provost William B. Applegate, Sr. VP, WFU Health Sciences and Dean of WFU School of Medicine Mark E. Welker, Associate Provost for Research
UPDATE - JUNE, 2005CU gets flak over monkey study. Organization blasts ongoing research into alcohol abuse. Rocky Mt News front page June 30, 2005
UPDATE - APRIL, 2005FreeTheCU34.org addresses the CU RegentsRead the "Silver and Gold" article and representative speeches here
UPDATE - DECEMBER, 2004 Daily Camera Coverage of FreeTheCU34.org, Boulder, CO
UPDATE - AUGUST, 2004 Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability, along with Tammy Fiebelkorn (dressed in a monkey suit), and CU English Professor Ed Rivers, attended the CU Regents meeting at Fitzsimmons in Aurora. Channel 2 came with their camera and interviewed Rita and Tammy at length prior to the meeting and did a nice piece on the 10:00 news.Rita was invited to speak and was given 2 minutes to present the CU 34 issue to the Regents. The monkey (Tammy) stood by her side during the presentation and everything was captured by Ed on video for the documentary he is doing.The regents have agreed to put our issue on the agenda for the December 8 meeting in Boulder, so we plan to be there. If you are able to go in support, please contact Rita at 303-618-3227 or by email at email@example.com for details on when and where.Thanks to all who continue to support our cause. Without your voices, there is no hope for the monkeys!
UPDATE - JULY 31, 2004 In MemoriamWe're sad to report that Pensy Marshall, a CU 34 supporter, died in Boulder on July 12, 2004.Pensy called in March when she learned about the plight of the monkeys at UCHSC and immediately asked what she could do to help. She then worked very hard to collect signatures on postcards and attended our April vigil. Her family has now asked that contributions be made to the CU 34 campaign in her name.She was one of those caring individuals who understood how important it is to help the animals in any way she could. She volunteered at the Boulder Humane Society and did her best to make this a better world for our friends of other species.Pensy's kind heart and generosity of spirit were apparent in the way she lived her life. She will be missed by humans and non-humans alike.
UPDATE - JUNE 24, 2004 Today's edition of the Silver & Gold Record (the CU paper for faculty and staff) included an open letter to CU President Hoffman from Rita Anderson, Committee for Research Accountability, a Project of In Defense of Animals. Those also signing in support of the letter were 1) Christopher Kuni, Professor of Radiology, CU Health Sciences Center, 2) Ed Rivers, CU Professor of English, 3) Marc Bekoff, CU Biology Professor and co-founder with Jane Goodall of EETA, 4) Julie Thompson, CU Student, 5) Matt Bear, National Endowment for the Animals, 6) Dave Crawford, Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, and 6) Sarah Florez, CU Partnership for Animal Welfare.The letter is the same one that was hand-delivered to President Hoffman earlier this month and can be found below as "Letter No. 2" under the date of June 3, 2004.We'll continue to update the site as developments occur!!!
UPDATE - June 3, 2004Click here for the text of the June 3, 2004 article in the Colorado Daily newspaper.Individuals representing several groups joined together once more to take petitions (including the on-line petition), an email from Belgium with 19 names and postcards with signatures to CU President Elizabeth Hoffman's office, asking for the release of the CU 34. Yesterday we took 3100 signatures which, along with the 1700 we've already taken to her, total 4800! The persons present were Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability (a Project of In Defense of Animals), Matt Bear of the National Endowment for the Animals, Ed Rivers who is a President's Teaching Scholar and CU English Professor, Jane Harper of the Fairview High School Roots and Shoots program, and Sarah Florez with the CU Partnership for Animal Welfare group. Although President Hoffman was not in at the time, we presented the information to her assistant and said we were there to once again ask for the release of the CU 34.Ed Rivers was, as always, there with his video camera to preserve our efforts for the video he is putting together about the campaign. Thanks, Ed!Also in attendance was a reporter and photographer from a local Boulder newspaper. Today they ran two pictures and wrote a great article in the June 3 edition of the Colorado Daily. They even included the fact that President Hoffman's "hairdresser" signed a postcard asking for the release of the monkeys.You will find below the two letters we presented to President Hoffman's assistant. One simply asks for the release of the monkeys, on behalf of all of you who signed your names. The second one is considerably longer and explains exactly why we want the monkeys released and outlining our questions and concerns.Again, a BIG THANKS to everyone who is helping on this project in any way, including those of you who have signed your name. You are each like a drop of water that, when joined with many other drops of water, become a mighty river - the river to freedom for the CU 34. Please keep the river flowing by continuing to spread the word and asking others to sign the petition and send it on.FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF THE TWO LETTERS PRESENTED TO PRESIDENT HOFFMAN'S ASSISTANT ON JUNE 2, 2004 –LETTER NO. 1 -Dear President Hoffman:This letter is written on behalf of the persons and organizations listed below, as well as 4,787 signators on petitions and postcards, some of which were delivered to your office on April 17, 2004 - the rest are attached. These signatures represent CU faculty and staff, CU alumni, students, taxpayers and citizens from the United States, Canada, Portugal, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. We request that you immediately release the 34 primates being held at the CU Health Sciences Center in Denver at no additional cost to citizens. Attached you will find a letter which explains this matter in more detail.Thank you for doing the right thing!Very truly yours,Rita L. AndersonCommittee for Research Accountability,a Project of In Defense of AnimalsOn behalf of: Dave Crawford, Rocky Mountain Animal DefenseMatt Bear, National Endowment for the AnimalsSarah Florez, CU Partnership for Animal WelfareEd Rivers, President's Teaching Scholar, CU Professor of EnglishJane Harper, Fairview High School, Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots ProgramJulie Thompson, University of Colorado, Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots ProgramLETTER NO. 2 -Dear President Hoffman:For approximately 17 years, Dr. Mark Laudenslager of the CU Health Sciences Center conducted maternal separation experiments on macaque monkeys. Some of these monkeys were then sent to the University of Washington Regional Primate Research Center to be injected with a simian form of HIV - those monkeys were all eventually killed. Many consider maternal separation and maternal deprivation experimentation to be wasteful, unnecessary and redundant. We already know if you deprive an infant of nurturing, that baby does not thrive.We've all been led to believe that the use of animals in medical research is necessary "for the health of humans." What human health benefits can be gained from separating infant monkeys from their mothers? Why did CU allow this questionable research to continue, year after year, at a cost of $7 million to the taxpayers? Will you continue to permit even more money to be wasted in the name of medical research?Even though Dr. Laudenslager's project ended in October, 2003, the monkeys that he used (as well as many other monkeys) are still being held captive at the Health Sciences Center in Denver. None of these 34 monkeys are currently involved in research. At the end of the maternal separation experimentation, I asked for the release of the monkeys and was told UCHSC officials would discuss this with me if I would find a sanctuary who was willing to accept them.When I found a primate sanctuary (accredited by both national sanctuary associations) that was willing to accept the monkeys, I immediately contacted UCHSC. In December, 2003, I received a letter from Dr. John Sladek, Vice-Chancellor for Research, indicating that it would be necessary to pay CU between $10,000 and $15,000 per monkey for their release. I found this quite shocking in light of the fact that a September, 2001 email written by Dr. Laudenslager stated "The vet is a little anxious about being stuck with them in two years and having to euthanize the colony". If they were considering killing these monkeys, why then would the University ask for this money "to replace the monkeys? This is considered by many to be equivalent to ransom.Based on statistics found on the CU website, it costs approximately $136,000 per year for the care and feeding of these animals. Considering the tight economic times and the many budget cuts CU has had to make, what is the justification for keeping these monkeys at UCHSC? A representative of your Public Relations Department stated the monkeys are being kept to "attract grants". Clay Evans, columnist for The Boulder Daily Camera said this sounds "like this is as much about keeping a few Ph.D.'s and grad students in beans as about truly advancing the cause of human health." How many better ways could CU find to use this $136,000 each year?With all this talk about money, we must not forget about ethics, which should always be a key factor when there are lives involved, be they human or non-human. These primates have served their time and deserve to spend their remaining years enjoying a life free from fear and emotional or physical pain. Consider the 36-year old monkey who was stolen from her home in the wild, only to be forced to live her life in the confines of a pen and submit to the whims of her captors, day after day, year after year. What about the 31 monkeys who were born at CU's breeding colony and have never known a "natural" life? Some of these monkeys, who have lived their entire existence in a basement cage, are now the same age as students who enter your University. However, they have probably never known sunshine or green grass, only repeated experimentation at the hands of humans. I ask you, Dr. Hoffman, do you feel it is ethical to continue to hold these monkeys at UCHSC? Jane Goodall stated, "If anyone other than white-coated scientists treated monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs ... as they do behind the locked doors of the animal lab, he or she would be prosecuted for cruelty."In November, 1996, after being approached by local citizens about the possible release of monkeys from the Health Sciences Center, Dean Richard Krugman responded by saying, "Your suggestion to address the social and behavioral needs of the monkeys in their post-research period is in direct parallel with our institutional policy for these animals. As point of fact, we have previously transferred animals no longer required for research investigation to alternate housing facilities . . . You see, we are not only interested in biomedical knowledge, we are also interested in proper care for animals we did once own and animals who have contributed to the advancement of the medical database and clinical care."Dr. Ron Banks, D.V.M., wrote the following to the same individual in March, 1997, "It is good to see others as committed as we are to the quality care of these very important animals."Why has the University changed its policy of purported concern for the animals in the last eight years? Releasing these sentient beings would indicate to the public and the taxpayers that the University is indeed interested in the welfare of the primates who have been living at your facility. After repeatedly calling your office to ask for a meeting with you about this matter, I was told to contact the Health Sciences Center. However, even though Dr. Sladek's December letter to me stated to contact him if I had questions, my calls to his office have been ignored. I also requested a meeting with Chancellor Shore, but received no response. I appreciate that Dr. James Stevens, interim veterinarian, has been willing to speak with me on numerous occasions; however, I was recently told that "no amount of effort will bring about a meeting with Dr. Sladek" because I have "caused the University problems". Apparently, my speaking out about the welfare of 34 sentient beings who are being held captive is considered to be nothing more than making trouble. Although Universities are traditionally places for openness and freedom of speech, there seems to be no room for discussion at CU. Why is this? Why is the University allowed to freely spend taxpayer money with no accountability to citizens? Why was $7 million spent on "maternal separation" experiments? If left unchecked, will millions more be wasted on archaic projects in the name of "human health" and "science"?Although CU tried for years to keep a lid on problems in the athletic department, it finally exploded into a major issue. The Commission investigating the athletic problems at the University recently stated that you "failed to exercise sufficient oversight until pressured by the governor and lawmakers". I certainly hope that will not be the case with regard to the primates being held at UCHSC. It might be wise to face this problem here and now before it grows any further and causes more negative publicity to the University. As represented by the many phone calls and emails you have received and the nearly 4,800 signatures from citizens that have been presented to your office, many people feel this is an issue of the utmost importance. These people include CU alumni, CU faculty and staff, students, taxpayers and concerned citizens from around the world. This has been reported in the Denver Post, Boulder Daily Camera, Silver & Gold Record, Colorado Daily, Boulder Weekly, and Channel 9 News, among others. Please take the time to read the attachments for comments from local citizens, those from across the U.S., and the 9 other countries represented by the signatures.We ask that you hear our voices and consider our reasoning, then release these 34 monkeys immediately to the sanctuary at no further cost to citizens and taxpayers. The University of Colorado can then be recognized for doing the right thing.Very truly yours,Rita L. AndersonCommittee for Research Accountability,a Project of In Defense of Animals
UPDATE - May 13, 2004Because of the care and concern from people around the world, we now have a total of nearly 4,200 signatures (petitions, postcards, etc.) toward our goal of 10,000! The Boulder Fairview High School Roots & Shoots group collected over 300 signatures in just one day! The signatures represent citizens from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Brazil and Germany. We will be presenting our next installment of signatures to the University of Colorado in the near future.Keep those signatures coming in and don't forget to continue emailing friends and family to ask for their help. MANY THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR COMPASSION. WE WILL FREE THE CU 34!
UPDATE - APRIL 17, 2004At 1:30 on the afternoon of April 16, 2004, Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability, Sarah Florez of CU-Partnership for Animal Welfare, Dave Crawford of Rocky Mountain Animal Defense and Matt Bear of National Endowment for the Animals, paid a visit to CU President Elizabeth Hoffman's office in Boulder to present a total of 1,667 signatures. This represented 562 postcards and 1,105 signatures from the on-line petition. Although President Hoffman was not there, we spoke with her representative and asked, on behalf of ourselves, our organizations and the 1,667 persons represented by the signatures, for the immediate release of the CU 34. Matt Bear spoke up to say the 1,667 signatures was just the "first installment".That evening, we held a vigil in front of the CU Health Sciences Center in Denver. There were approximately 75 people in attendance. We had music provided by Matt Bear, including a beautiful song he wrote, "Set Us Free" (which you can hear on this website). There were several readings of quotes and poems about animal issues, which, by request, are also being included on the website.Since so very many people had helped out, Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability attempted to thank all of the groups and individuals who made it happen. However, as so often happens, she later remembered one very important person who had not been thanked - Ed Rivers. Ed is a CU English Professor who worked very hard videotaping the whole vigil and is putting together a CU 34 video which will also include our visit to President Hoffman's office and media coverage. Thanks, Ed, for being there and for your dedication to the monkeys!Rita then asked those present to follow along in a two-block march to see where the monkeys are housed. She felt it was important for everyone to see exactly where the monkeys live - in the basement of a 100 year-old building with the windows covered, with no sunlight or view of the outdoors. The police, however, stopped us about ½ block short of our goal. We were allowed to have a moment of silence, then Matt Bear sang another awesome piece, "Give or Take". As we left to go back, there were several teary eyes.WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW!As Rita stressed to everyone at the vigil, just because we've held a vigil does not mean our work is done. In fact, we've just begun. Since the original goal of 1,500 signatures was reached in less than a month, the new goal is 10,000 SIGNATURES. We plan to continue visiting President Hoffman's office as we gather more signatures and more support.Please continue to send emails to your friends with the website address. Ask them to sign the on-line petition and send emails to their friends. The FREE THE CU 34 campaign has gained international attention and we now have supporters from the U.S., France, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland!It is also most important to keep sending polite emails and phone calls to President Hoffman, asking for the release of the CU 34. As the weeks go by, we need to continue to let her know that we will not go away until the monkeys are released and retired to the sanctuary.Don't forget to send your letters to the local newspapers. Be sure to include your full name, address and daytime phone number (name only is printed in the paper). Contact info for the large papers is:Denver Post (firstname.lastname@example.org)Rocky Mountain News (email@example.com)Boulder Daily Camera (firstname.lastname@example.org) - limited to 300 wordsTHANKS TO EVERY ONE OF YOU. WITH YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT