President’s Message:

End Federal Funding of Research That Tortures Animals

Rescued horse Sunny and Susan C. McDonough
Rescued horse Sunny and President Susan C. McDonough

A few months ago, we told you about “Jimmy,” a monkey who was rescued after spending 20 years in a filthy pet store in upstate New York. Now Jimmy is living the good life at a sanctuary in Gainesville, Florida, where he is loved and receives amazing care. Unfortunately, not all primates are as fortunate as Jimmy.

Recently, I learned about Stephen Lisberger, an animal researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, who performs experiments using rhesus macaque monkeys. According to In Defense of Animals, an organization located in Mill Valley, CA, Lisberger subjects the monkeys to “as many as nine survival surgeries, drilling into their skulls to implant bolts, metal plates, and steel recording cylinders in their heads, slicing their eyes open to glue metal coils inside, driving electrodes deep into the brain, and destroying part of the brain by suctioning it out.”

In experiments he calls “running the monkeys,” Lisberger straps the monkeys into restraining chairs, heads bolted into place, and places them inside a plastic box for up to 8 hours, Electrodes are implanted into their brains to record neurological activity as they move their eyes in a certain pattern for juice rewards. If a monkey doesn´t perform, he is denied all fluids until the next day when the procedure is repeated.

According to IDA, clinical records reveal a cycle of invasive surgical procedures, infections resulting in swollen eyes, seeping pus, bleeding surgical wounds and infected brains. Although the USDA has cited Lisberger numerous times for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, his barbaric operation continues. (Now that’s a surprise! How many times did the USDA cite the pet store where Jimmy was — about 50?).

Lisberger has conducted this torture for 21 years and continues it today for the professed purpose of seeing how the brain controls eye movements. However, tremendous progress in research technology has rendered his gruesome research techniques obsolete.

In Defense of Animals plans to conduct a national campaign to educate and convince the media, the public, and legislators to request an end of federal funding for this torture.

Please write your U.S. legislators and ask them to END the federal funding of this cruelty. For further information, contact: In Defense of Animals, 131 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, Ca. 94941 — (415) 388-9641 —

Susan C. McDonough

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XVI, No.1, Spring 2002.