Standards group “vindicates” UBC research team accused of animal cruelty

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      An organization that sets standards for experimentation on animals across Canada has cleared a University of British Columbia research team of animal-cruelty allegations.

      In a March 15 letter to the local group Stop UBC Animal Research, the Canadian Council on Animal Care said it could find “no evidence” of animal cruelty by Dr. Doris Doudet and her research team.

      The Straight reported on March 1 that the euthanizing of four macaque monkeys following Parkinson’s disease research at UBC had sparked the outrage among local antivivisectionists.

      “We’re calling for an end to animal research at the University of British Columbia and at all publicly funded institutions and private institutions,” Anne Birthistle, volunteer with Stop UBC Animal Research and codirector of the Animal Defense and Anti-Vivisection Society of B.C., told the Straight at the time. “We believe in the scientific data that shows animal research is hazardous to human health, and there are far better human-based, progressive approaches that we should be using.”

      On February 22, Stop UBC Animal Research wrote the CCAC and demanded an investigation into the deaths of the monkeys.

      In the letter copied to UBC vice president of research John Hepburn and other parties, CCAC executive director Clément Gauthier states: “CCAC certification indicates that the animal care and use program at the institution is in compliance with CCAC policies, guidelines, and other relevant standards.”

      Hepburn says in a UBC news release issued today (March 19): “The CCAC vindicates the careful, humane and ethical way our researchers treat the animals in their care.”

      Neither Birthistle nor Brian Vincent, director of Stop UBC Animal research, were immediately available to comment on the CCAC's finding.

      Canadian Council on Animal Care letter to Stop UBC Animal Research



      Anne Birthistle

      Mar 20, 2012 at 1:22am

      Stop UBC Animal Research did release a statement shortly after this appeared in which we noted that the CCAC has failed to investigate our concerns about the same researcher's stated intention to kill at least 4 more monkeys in a subsequent study in the same line of Parkinson's research; they do not reveal the fate of the 14 surviving monkeys from the published experiment (although the researcher writes that they retained disability from the inflicted brain damage, they were not euthanized - it is understood that they have been 'recycled' into further experiments); nor did the CCAC address our complaint that this researcher's ongoing 'pilot' studies are not subject to full ACC review and approval.
      When will this researcher be stopped from inflicting brain damage, depression, electroconvulsive shock, drugs of abuse on sensitive, intelligent non-human primates (which are abstemious by nature, nor can they be afflicted with true Parkinson's Disease) - how many monkeys is she using in these ongoing pilot studies, and when will common sense and decency prevail?
      How many monkey deaths does it take?

      John Evans

      Mar 20, 2012 at 11:01am

      Anne, you can try all you like to shift the goalposts but the fact is that you made specific allegations of scientific misconduct against Prof. Doudet, and those allegations have been found to be false.

      Why this should be a surprise is, well, surprising, since it was patently obvious to anyone who knows about animal research that the allegations against Prof Doudet were false from the start

      Let's be clear, Prof. Doudet has not and is not carrying out any pilot studies that are not subject to ACC review and approval, so there was nothing for the CCAC to investigate.