Cruelty For The Sake Of Curiosity is Not Acceptable. Infant monkeys are taken from mothers within 24 hours of birth. To mimic "adverse rearing conditions," they're isolated with a live snake or wire "surrogate peer." Human Intruder enactments purposely traumatize them. Fear is not a byproduct, but the very goal of deprivation tests during brain development. The monkeys endure brain scans and spinal taps, before killed to dissect their brains.
When Harry Harlow first subjected infant monkeys to his infamous "Well Of Despair" in the 1950s, he disgraced UW. These studies did not advance medical treatment then or now. Artificial rupture of the mother-baby bond is already well documented. Any perceived need for more data is overshadowed by the unethical character of the tests.
Among mammals, baby primates are especially dependent upon mothers for psychological health. To rob them of any sense of self, then kill them, is animal desecration and exploitation at its worst.
UW claims to be committed to replacement of animals when "practical alternatives exist." TAKE ACTION: Ask university review committees, lab veterinarians, related staff and administration to select, or promote, the only practical alternative: Permanently end maternal deprivation tests.
I have reviewed "Animal Research at University of Wisconsin-Madison," which states that students, faculty and scientists engaged in animal experimentation believe their work is ethical when executed under "strict regulation, in situations where practical alternatives do not exist."
I respectfully submit a practical alternative to UW’s maternal deprivation tests: Permanently end them. Here is why:
They are profoundly cruel. Infant monkeys are taken from mothers within 24 hours of birth. To mimic "adverse rearing conditions," they’re isolated with a live snake or wire "surrogate peer." Human Intruder enactments purposely traumatize them. Fear is not a byproduct, but the very goal of deprivation tests during brain development. All monkeys are killed to dissect their brains.
They are redundant and without scientific merit. UW states that animal research is essential for human disease/disability treatments and promotion of health/safety for animals, people and environment. A decade-long National Institutes of Health study concluded that isolated infant monkeys self-mutilate. Adverse response to maternal separation is already documented. Re-proving the same basic paradigm does not advance health/safety treatments.
Taxpayer dollars spent on the neurobiology of fear in primates waste money and time. Among mammals, primate infants are unusually dependent upon mothers for psychological health. One need only look to young monkeys at a primate sanctuary (rescued from adverse conditions), and speak to their rehabilitative caregivers, to gain insight. Yet UW’s Chair of the Psychiatry, Dr. Ned H. Kalin, hopes to top $5,075,798 spent (in 10 years alone) to note variations between dissected brains of mentally distressed monkeys versus mother-reared monkeys. [National Institutes of Health. Grant R01MH046729. Development and Regulation of Emotion in Primates.]
Any perceived need for more data is overshadowed by the unethical character of the tests. Institutional Animal Care & Use Committees (IACUCs) assess research protocols for adherence to the Animal Welfare Act. Amendments to the AWA in 1985, along with Institute For Laboratory Animal Research guidelines from 1998, call for the "psychological well-being of captive nonhuman primates." The crux of maternal deprivation is to withhold these very requirements: "Appropriate social companionship; positive interactions with personnel that are not a source of unnecessary stress; freedom from unnecessary pain and distress."
One presumes UW ACUCs have overwhelming incentive to seek exemption. However, what the public sees (from Freedom Of Information requested records) are ACUC personnel who failed to reject controversial protocols known to inflict severe suffering.
When Harry Harlow subjected infant monkeys to mental anguish in the 1950s, he publicly disgraced the University of Wisconsin. Harlow’s ruthless tests even served as partial cause to amend the AWA in 1985. A renewal of similar madness humiliates UW once again, and frankly, defies logic.
I strongly encourage review committees to do their job, rather than grant consent for every animal study put forth for consideration. Please chose and promote the most practical alternative available: Permanently end maternal deprivation studies.