Tonight on ABC there is a story about a college based research facility, the New Iberia Research Center, associated with the University of Louisiana Lafayette.
The story is the result of a nine-month investigation by The Humane Society of the United States.
That investigation has resulted in a 108-page complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That complaint alleges 338 possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at the center.
There are many levels of disgust one can reach reading this story.
That the NIRC purposefully acted in ways that are cruel is one and weighty on its own merit.
That the NIRC has used federal funds to warehouse and breed chimpanzees, activities that the HUS reports cost “American taxpayers millions of dollars, even at a time of fiscal crisis and when no other developed nation uses chimpanzees in experiments” is another.
If you can’t get angry over the misuse of these animals, get angry over the cost to the American taxpayer (that would be you.)
At a time when this country is in fiscal chaos, millions of dollars are being stolen from the taxpayer by groups like The New Iberia Research facility that houses over 6,000 monkeys and 325 chimpanzees.
However only a small portion of those primates are used for their experiments. However, the point here is the theft of millions of taxpayer dollars by the University of Louisiana.
It is a story that has left me angry. Outraged really. Sickened.
After watching a “researcher” hold a young infant in her hands, beating it as she force-feeds it some substance I went to the New Iberia Research Center web site.
At the web site there is a picture of a happy family unit on the front page. Playful chimps in a gymnasium.
Quoting from those pages, the site reads:
“Over the years, much growth and improvement to the facilities has occurred including the most recent construction of two new automated research buildings. Much attention has also been given to the development of suitable living quarters for the approximately 6,000 non-human primate residents of the facility.”
But I saw no compassion. No caring. No appreciation to these animals or the role that they are playing in our lives in the HSUS videos.
The only conclusion that can be made is that those that our teaching our children are liars.
Before you write me, I do know the NIRC is not the only research facility and that the University of Louisiana is not alone. The University of Minnesota has come under scrutiny (2009) as has The University of Oregon (2007) and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia that was featured in the 1974 film Primate, directed by Frederick Wiseman, has been closely watched by humane action groups, including the Humane Society and PETA.
I will watch this show tonight and I would gladly bet that I will not see any loving family units. Or playful toddlers swinging about in a gym like setting.
What I think I will see is torture. Cruelty.
The Nightline website quotes Dr. Joseph Savoie, President of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as writing:
“The university takes very seriously the New Iberia Research Center’s responsibility to care for the animals housed at the center. The highly qualified and experienced staff veterinarians responsible for the care of this animals are extremely dedicated and respond aggressively to reports of potential animal abuse,” wrote Dr. Joseph Savoie, President of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “We have a clearly stated and direct no tolerance policy when the welfare of any animal in our care is threatened, and we will continue to strictly enforce that policy.”
It makes one wonder just how much experience does one need to acquire before they are qualified to hit an animal in the mouth with a pipe? What training qualifies a “skilled veterinarian” to be able to strike an infant before torturing it?
Really, I must ask please just how far is Dr. Savoie willing to go to get their chunk of the millions in research dollars our government dolls out daily?
Photo of caged NIRC chimp courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States website.
What can you do?
It is not enough to be angry about this. We must lobby so that this school’s admissions drop, that they do not receive one nickel of my – or your – tax dollars.
You can start with a phone call.
The phone for the university is (337) 482-1000 call and ask for the Dean of Students. The phone for the research center is (337) 482-2411 or email NIRCweb@louisiana.edu.
Please tell Dr. Savoie to insure that Siafu and other elderly chimps — some who have been housed in laboratories for decades — be moved to safe havens.
Then email your senator and demand that they hear your outrage over federal tax dollars spent on the inhuman treatment of animals.
Send President Obama a note… tell him we will not support this type of facility with our tax dollars. Not now. Not later. And he needs to outlaw animal research.
Support the Humane Society of the United States with your donations and applaud ABC for doing its best to shine a light on this situation.
They have had an impact on this facility. According the their web site
“The U.S. Humane Society is working with four U.S. congressmen to introduce a bill to ban the use of chimpanzees in invasive research and retire at least half of the 1,200 in use to sanctuaries. Some have been in labs for more than 40 years.”
But it will take pressure from each of to make sure this facility is shut down and then it requires our continued diligence to ensure that our government does not continue to fund animal research.
Because once there is no money in it, they will find other ways to test their drugs and chemicals.
“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”