End Vivisection on Primates at Arizona State University

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Veg Out at ASU started this petition to President Michael Crow and

Arizona State University is a public university in the US dedicated to innovation and advancing research and discovery of public value. However, the university continues to uphold painful vivisection on animals as the gold standard for research, rather than investing in effective, cruelty-free alternatives. As of 2018, 26 nonhuman primates were being kept captive at ASU for the purpose of invasive neurosurgery and forced experimentation, including coercion into performing tasks by withholding food and water. The primates on campus are primarily rhesus macaques. Native to Asia, these are extremely social animals who live in large groups, form complex social bonds, and have vastly unique forms of communication. However, at ASU, they are kept solitary in cages and deprived of the ability to create bonds and practice natural behaviors. In primates, this kind of treatment leads to psychological issues and antisocial behaviors.

At ASU, there have been violations in multiple labs, including an incident where two monkeys escaped and attacked each other, leading to the loss of finger segments for one individual. However, the majority of suffering is inflicted through the experimental procedures. A typical experiment on these animals begins with invasive surgery to implant electrodes into an individual’s brain or screw a headpiece into their skull. Then, they are usually restrained and forced to complete a task, such as grasping an object. If successful, the monkeys receive water or juice as a reward; to incentivize compliance, researchers often restrict water before experiments so that monkeys are thirsty and desperate to drink. Some of these animals will live in labs for years, enduring repeated psychological and physical harm. They will never be released to the wild; they will either live out their days as test subjects, or be killed at the end of the experiment so that their brains and bodies can be dissected. Nevertheless, ASU endorses and funds these practices, claiming a desire to advance research for the public good.

But do we really need to torture monkeys for the sake of research? Despite animal testing being widely defended in the research community, only 8% of drugs derived from animal testing go to the market. From there, half of those drugs are recalled due to adverse reactions experienced by patients. This means that only 4% of drug treatments developed from animal testing survive on the market. With a failure rate so high, one has to wonder why we’re torturing and killing thousands of animals every year, only to end up with unreliable, unsuccessful treatments.

There are alternatives to animal testing that are reproducible, cruelty-free, and cost-effective. Technologies such as the “organ on a chip” allow us to study drug efficacy and interactions, as well as biological pathways and organ relationships. 3D bioprinting of organs is becoming more precise and advanced, providing another method for drug testing, and bioengineering is producing new medical treatments all the time. ASU has the opportunity to become a true leader in research by phasing out animal testing and adopting these alternative models, just as universities such as Harvard and MIT are doing. We ask that ASU stop using primates in research and commit to retiring the already captive individuals to sanctuary, where they can live out their lives free of abuse and suffering. We also ask that the university invest in non-animal models and trailblaze the path to cruelty-free research. If ASU is truly number one in innovation in the US, then the university should be constantly striving for more effective, less violent research methods in their pursuit to advance science and knowledge as a whole.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!
At 15,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!