PETA presents exhibit in Amherst about experiments on animals

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) — The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, paid a visit to Amherst Thursday putting up a display right in the town common.

Amherst is just one stop on a much larger tour that PETA is taking. The organizers 22News spoke with said they picked the town because they wanted to send a message to the University of Massachusetts and its students.

It’s called “Without Consent” and it’s aimed at challenging the idea that animals are needed for research. The organizers pointed to alternative methods that could be used instead, like organoids or organs on chips to mimic living organisms.

The exhibition displays photographs of nearly 200 animal experiments conducted at U.S. institutions from the 1920s through today. The exhibit aims to illustrate how nonconsenting beings suffer and die in experiments, from floor-cleaner product tests to mother-infant separation studies.

“Without Consent tells the true stories of animals needlessly harmed and killed in painful experiments that they did not and could not consent to. Humans are only one animal species among many, and having the power to exploit the others does not give us the right to do so,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

“We would be so much more advanced if we were pumping our tax dollars into those research methods and steering away from animal testing,” said Maria Leonardi & Payton McKnight of the “Without Consent” Tour.

However, the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research told the I-Team animal research still gives the best science. UMass Amherst stated the following on the PETA display:

UMass Amherst research involving animals is conducted in a manner designed to fulfill the extensive federal requirements for animal welfare and receives careful independent review by sponsoring agencies according to current scientific understanding and standards.

UMass facilities and programs are reviewed and inspected regularly, including by the USDA. Any unintentional impacts on animal welfare are reported and addressed to the satisfaction of federal regulators.

Researchers emphasize that work with non-human primates is particularly important in addressing issues where there are no other viable approaches. In particular, researchers believe work with marmosets is very important in addressing issues of aging.  For example, it is expected that by the middle of this century more than 100 million people worldwide will have a debilitating neurodegenerative disease and research with marmosets is key to understanding the mechanisms for the disease and for normal functioning.  

UMass Amherst

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