Sunday marked the start of National Primate Liberation Week, a nationwide series of protests organized by Stop Animal Exploitation Now, a non-profit based in Ohio. On Saturday, local supporters will hold a demonstration from 1 to 3 p.m. at KU Med.
Their specific target is the university's "Brain Mapping" research. Conducted by Dr. Paul Cheney, the investigation uses "awake monkeys" to determine which specific neurons in the brain fire to complete various tasks. In a statement about the Saturday rally, the local animal rights group argues that strapping a monkey to a restraining chair and exposing its brain for monitoring is cruel and unnecessary.
"The vivisectors call them trained monkeys, when they are really being starved, while they're also in serious pain and high stress," the statement alleges. "Does this sound like science?"
Yesterday, Jessica Taveau, KU Med's director of communications, didn't have any comment on the impending protest, but she did forward me a statement on the university's research protocols. "All animals involved in research at KUMC are protected by legal regulations and policies to ensure the smallest possible number of subjects and the greatest commitment to their comfort," the outline promises.