Animal rights group accuses UH of cruelty - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Animal rights group accuses UH of cruelty

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Some serious accusations against the University of Houston have earned them an unwanted award in the animal rights world.

An animal rights group called In Defense of Animals or IDA says macaque monkeys similar to the ones seen in their video are maimed and killed during invasive research.

"We were a little alarmed by the ages of the monkeys, they range from 2 to 8 weeks, they were put through very lengthy brain surgeries," said Barbara Stagno, Program Director at In Defense of Animals.Org.

The nonprofit group claims monkeys' brains are being marathon-tested with electrodes for 2 to 4 days at a time. The group says the monkeys are then killed and their brain studied.

"In the course of the study we didn't find how this was going to benefit humans," said Stagno.

She says the same type of research aiming to find how vision develops in primates to help fuzzy vision in children has been going on since 1989. What's even worse, she says,the research is not finding anything new.

"They continue because no one is questioning it and what we want is for people to know about it and question it," said Stagno.

FOX 26 contacted the University of Houston on this specific type of research and received a general statement regarding their UH Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

"The primary functions of IACUC are to ensure compliance with all regulations, policies and standards established using animals in research… another responsibility of the IACUC is to assist students and staff in upholding the finest care and most humane use of our laboratory animals."

The organization says they will be sending a letter to the University by the end of the week asking them to discontinue the study. The goal of the award, Stagno says, is to raise awareness of what could be going on behind lab doors.

"The American people are very unaware of what's happening with their tax dollars and they have no say in it because they don't know about it," she said.

The experiment, the organization says, was funded by the National Eye Institute in 2012. The university says they are complying with all the rules and are fully accredited by organizations that monitor the humane use of animals.

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