The university claims that the experiments have led to breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s.
onkeys trapped in the University of Leuven, Belgium.
The images that have surfaced show the animals hooked onto devices and metal rods jutting from their heads, causing outrage among the online communities of pet owners and animal rights activists. The skulls of these rhesus monkeys have reportedly been drilled with boreholes to fit metal rods, so researchers can conduct brain experiments on these innocent creatures.
According to Dutch lobby group Animal Rights, these monkeys at the University of Leuven, in the Flemish Region in northern Belgium, have electrodes implanted in their brains with rods cemented on their heads, reported The Daily Mail.
The Flemish government awarded about $2,349,350 million (£1.8m) to the university in 2019, financing the inhuman brain experiments being conducted on the 12 rhesus monkeys. And regardless to say, this has attracted flak from the general public.
According to Jen Hochmuth, a toxicologist and campaign coordinator for Animal Rights (AR), “These animal experiments are not legally required for the development of new medicines. They are useless and cruel experiments that only serve to satisfy the curiosity of scientists lacking compassion. The brain experiments on monkeys are not a necessary evil but plain evil,” reported The Sun.
The university, however, claims that the use of these animals is absolutely necessary for their breakthrough research for Alzheimer’s. But the activists revealed that most of these 12 monkeys will reach an ill fate and be killed after the completion of the tax-payer funded experiments. They also revealed that the researchers were benefiting from the subsidy.
Talking to The Sun, the AR said that the experiments cause the monkeys intense suffering. “To be able to measure their brain activity, all test monkeys have electrodes implanted into the brain via boreholes in their skulls. Cement is used to attach a fixation rod or ‘hat’ to the skull [for] brain measurements,” Hochmuth stated.
She added, “The animals have to go through heavy training programs for months and are put on strict water diets to force them to cooperate with the researchers.” According to the animal rights activists, there are more animals locked up in labs at the university, apart from these 12 monkeys.
The campaigners working to rescue these test monkeys are believed to be 40 in total, and have demanded the public funds to be directed towards alternative animal-free experiments. “These animals deserve a dignified pension in a specialized shelter,” they said.
The group disclosed that according to government information, in 2020, three new animal testings on the rhesus monkeys have begun at the KU Leuven. “Over the next four years, no less than 12 rhesus monkeys will undergo major brain operations,” it said. They also revealed that according to an opinion poll, “a large majority of Bepercenttate that experiments on monkeys (79 percent as well as on all other animals (64 percent), should be banned.”
The KU Leuven arguing the claims of the group and explaining their side of the story on their website wrote that “unfortunately, there are not enough good alternatives’ to replace lab animals that are used in brain research.”
They further wrote that even though the test tube experiments and computer programs can help provide some information, “in other cases, animals are necessary.”
“Nearly one in three Europeans is faced with a disorder of the brain or central nervous system in their lifetime. These can be diverse types of disorders such as migraine, epilepsy, hearing problems, visual problems, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” added the university.
It went on to explain how the aging of the population will create a rise in the number of patients “with brain disorders” and so their research “into the function of the brain may benefit many tens of millions of people.” This is the reason that the laboratories use “mice, rats, and rhesus monkeys for this type of research.”
The university also revealed that research on “complex brain functions” is best done on monkeys as they are the closest to humans. According to their scientists, the test conducted on these poor animals proved the link between Alzheimer’s along with other problems such as obesity, brain injury, and physical inactivity.
The university also stated, “Laboratory animals are well cared for and housed in the best possible circumstances. They live in small groups with enough enrichment to keep them busy. Good care and housing is not only important for the animals but also to guarantee the quality of research.”
Even if the monkeys are provided with world-class facilities and excellent care, it does not change the fact that these voiceless creatures are being violated, used as mere commodities for gains that are in question.