Wake Forest University’s Monkey Quarter

Wake Forest University has found itself in PETA’s crosshairs. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is accusing a Wake Forest University researcher of involvement in an unethical animal experiment in China. Lee Enterprises’ John Newsom wrote a nice summary of this controversy in today’s Winston-Salem Journal.

While PETA is concerned with Wake Forest’s involvement with “cruel and pointless experiments on monkeys at an institution in China,” I am more concerned with the monkey business that it’s engaged in here in Forsyth County. Most folks don’t even know that Wake Forest operates a research facility just off Peters Creek Parkway, on the Davidson/Forsyth County line. Though, the search for an escaped monkey a decade ago did raise the research facility’s public profile.

Under a considerable amount of pressure from animal rights activists, UCLA formed a partnership with Wake Forest University over a decade ago. In the mid-2000s the Vervet Research Colony (founded in 1975) was moved from Los Angelos to an inconspicuous, unincorporated parcel of land in southwest Forsyth County. Animal rights activists, oversight from the City of Los Angeles, and the state of California pushed UCLA into a partnership with Wake, even though the two campuses are separated by almost 2500 miles. The partnership soon soured and ended up in court.

“The monkeys were blasted with a loud, 100 dB buzzing noise for 12 hours. They were kept thirsty, deprived of water or any other fluids for 12 hours. They were kept hungry, deprived of food for 24 hours. The monkeys were placed in a cage barely bigger than their bodies and in which their movement was severely restricted for four hours. They were sprayed with cold, 10 degree C water for 10 minutes. They were exposed to a flashing stroboscope for 12 hours. And they were subjected to inescapable and repeated electric shocks on their feet for up to 90 seconds. In short, these monkeys were tortured.”                                                                                                                  -Katherine V. Roe, Ph.D.


I’m no expert on animal experimentation, but it appears to me that these are largely pointless experiments Ph.D.’s use to get grant funding. It’s a racket that should be abolished! I’d like to see Wake Forest close down its monkey quarter and spend some of its considerable endowment on housing human beings in its adopted hometown.

Examples of Wake Forest monkeying around, wasting tax dollars, and harming animals:

Subordinate monkeys more likely to choose cocaine over food

“At a North Carolina facility shared with Wake Forest University, Jentsch works with a colony of more than 450 vervet monkeys in what he described as noncoercive and painless memory tests, DNA samples and scans. He said 10 or fewer of the animals are put to death by injection each year, so that researchers can conduct postmortem exams.

At a UCLA lab, he administers methamphetamine to about two dozen monkeys and then withdraws them from it; about half a dozen are killed each year for postmortems. He contended that the animals suffer no pain from the work.”

Larry Gordon, Los Angelos Times, April 13, 2009

Background on this topic, Primate center locked in legal battle with UCLA | Old Gold & Black, Feb 28, 2013

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