The best selling French magazine ‘Paris Match’ leads the way at the start of this new year, with coverage of an undercover film from a primate laboratory. Calls for a French Parliamentary Science Inquiry have started, and Dr Andre Menache is quoted at the close of the article, calling for “modern 21st century science to challenge the animal model”. For the full article in French please visit this link.
For the English translation please see the text below:
In a video released this morning, the French organisation Animal Testing reveals the procedures that primates undergo during fundamental brain research as well as for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
After the horror of slaughterhouses, welcome to an undercover expose of animal experimentation. Last December, the organisation Animal Testing, founded by Audrey Jougla, teamed up with PETA France, to protest the fate of dogs made to suffer in research funded by AFM-Téléthon to study muscular dystrophy. This morning, Animal Testing unveiled its new video of primates undergoing brain research in the field of fundamental research as well as for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Filmed in 2013 using a hidden camera in a large Paris hospital, the images reveal a laboratory with rows of cages one cubic meter in size.
It is here that rhesus macaques are given the chemical MPTP, a neurotoxin that results in symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. Unable to feed themselves, the monkeys must be force-fed. One of the primates, almost blind, is at the end of its life. “The tool” is longer useful to the researchers. Another monkey will be forcefully placed in a restraint chair, with an apparatus screwed to the skull, says Animal Testing. The neck, wrists and ankles of the monkey are clamped. A researcher explains that the primates are forced to remain without food in their restraining chair until they lift up their heads so that their necks can be clamped. A rhesus macaque called Yeti did not eat for a whole week. This is the phase during which the monkeys are “psychologically broken”.
According to the researcher, “there is no other way.” “Placed in a dark room, the monkeys are required to follow a series of light signals projected onto a screen as part of a vision experiment,” says Audrey Jougla, founder of Animal Testing. For each correct answer, the monkey receives a few drops of water via a pipette. Monkeys are deprived of water in their cages. The water is their reward. Researchers also behave in callous ways towards the animals. They joke about their suffering, referring to monkeys who shut tight their eyes as “bastards”, which is the only way for the animal to say «”stop this experiment”.
These primates, some as old as 11 years, are continuously deprived of natural light and live permanently in underground rooms. “Animal Testing is calling for the launching of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into these practices, based on both legal and scientific considerations,” said Audrey Jougla. Researchers and politicians need to discuss the highly questionable value of this sort of fundamental research, in addition to the legalised cruelty. “
Each year in Europe, 11.5 million animals serve as guinea pigs in laboratories. In 2014, in France, nearly 1.77 million animals were killed for experimental purposes. Some in the scientific community now challenge this practice which it considers archaic and unreliable for humans. “Cultures of cells, tissues, organs, biomathematical models, biochips … and many other replacement methods exist, which are more relevant and more predictive for humans,” states André Ménache, director of the scientific committee Antidote Europe which, in September 2016, also called for the launch of a parliamentary commission of inquiry. It is time for 21st century modern science to challenge the animal model. “