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Protesters Call for Closure of Primate Research Center at UC Davis

by DxE
The California National Primate Research Center’s work has included studies with Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk that has been accused of violating the Animal Welfare Act
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Protesters Call for Closure of Primate Research Center at UC Davis, Citing Inhumane Practices, Federal Violations, and Failures of Animal Studies to Produce Relevant Results

On January 26, students and other advocates of ending animal use in research gathered at the West Quad of the University of California, Davis campus to protest inhumane practices at the university’s primate testing center, the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), and call for its closure. More than 5,000 monkeys are confined at the center for use in research and breeding. The demonstration was hosted by two student groups at the university, People for the Elimination of Animal Cruelty through Education (PEACE) and Students Opposing Speciesism (SOS), with support from the Bay Area chapter of the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE).

The demonstration included speeches, live music, and outreach to passersby. Two activists sat inside cages while dressed as monkeys in solidarity with the monkeys imprisoned at the nearby primate center, while another activist dressed as a lab worker in a white coat poured fake blood over the cages. The speakers shared information on the failures of biomedical animal experiments to produce results relevant to the treatment of human disease. In addition, activists note, drugs shown safe in animal studies have caused disabilities and death when tested in humans. They contend that the money, time, and brainpower used on animal experiments could be better spent on newer methods — such as 3D printed human tissues and organs-on-chips — which are more likely to produce results that apply to human health.

Abusive methods cited by activists include the practice of withholding food and water until monkeys in research studies are so dehydrated they will perform tasks in order to be rewarded with minuscule amounts of food or water. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a national nonprofit research and advocacy organization, has called UC Davis “a habitual violator of the [federal research animal protection] law” and in 2021 filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and brought a lawsuit against the university for violating the Animal Welfare Act in its research with Neuralink, a private company founded by Elon Musk that is trying to develop a brain chip implant. Study records obtained by PCRM detailed numerous preventable incidents that caused suffering and death to rhesus macaques, including the use of an unapproved adhesive in the monkeys’ surgically altered skulls that led to brain hemorrhages.

The movement to end animal research at the CNPRC has historically been supported by students and the student government. Since 2019, Associated Students, UC Davis (a student-run provider of student services and programs) has passed two senate resolutions demanding that the CNPRC change to animal-free methods.

“The CNPRC continues to engage in archaic animal research, despite the fact that we are living in the 21st century and have access to modern methods of scientific experimentation that are more accurate and beneficial to humans,” says UC Davis student Kara Long, leader of PEACE and the Davis chapter of SOS. “UC Davis has an incredible opportunity to become one of the leaders in modernized research, scientific advancements, and laudable ethics by ending the use of nonhuman animals in experimentation.”
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by DxE
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by DxE
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by DxE
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