AMHERST, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) caused a stir in UMass Amherst on Monday with help from a Hollywood actor. They protested against the university’s use of marmoset monkeys in menopause experiments.
Representatives from PETA said they chose September to do the protest well as students re-acclimatized to campus life. They said they wanted these students to know exactly what kind of experiences are going on in this building.
Marmosets in that lab undergo numerous invasive surgeries, in captivity, said Katherine Roe, neuroscientist at PETA.
Animal rights group PETA held signs, showed videos and gave speeches today to express their anger at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for its use of marmosets in research into menopause symptoms. This is a normal process in humans, but something, according to the protesters, does not occur naturally in small primates.
Very, very upsetting. It’s unnecessary, said Sheryl Becker of Western Mass. Animal Rights Advocates.
Part of the protest on campus came from Massachusetts-born actor Casey Affleck, a longtime animal rights activist.
We love this state. We know this is a great school and will continue to be a great school when it stops torturing and killing these helpless animals, Affleck said.
The group wants to see research funds, some of which come from an agency of the federal government, directed elsewhere.
People are studying women going through menopause and studying its effects on their brains, Roe added.
Western Mass News reached out to UMass Amherst, who defended their use of animal testing and said in part:
Animals are used in research when no better option exists.
One student disagreed with the message PETA was trying to send on animal testing and with famous spokesperson Affleck, whose previous cases and allegations of sexual harassment came to light during the Me Too movement.
I think it’s sorely ironic that an organization that claims to be concerned with the ethical treatment of animals has apparently decided to eliminate humans from this equation, said Erik Plowden, graduate student at UMass.
UMass Amherst officials said they had a dedicated website that explains their case for the use of animals in experiments. They said there was also a frequently asked questions section.
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