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UPDATE: Spared From Research - Israel Vetoes Mazor Farm Primate Export


Training sessions occur in narrow, dark rooms with monkeys in isolation. Undercover Investigation, Let The Animals Live.

Shuki is restrained in a primate chair for 1-2 hours each day.

Pikatchu is restrained after fitted with a skull cap.

A cat before surgery to excise part of her skull.
spacer THIS ALERT IS CLOSED. It is archived for use as a letter-writing example or background research.

UPDATE: Mazor Farm Headed For Closure?
7/20/12 -  In Kinship Circle’s original alert, activists implored Israeli officials to investigate Weizmann Institute of Science, where decades of monkey and cat experiments failed to yield functional data. They also urged authorities to shut Mazor Farm, a breeder that supplies primates to labs in Israel and abroad.

Some researchers may face a primate shortage, since Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan — who leads Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) — nixed consent for Mazor to ship monkeys to Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories (SNBL) in Texas. At least 40 monkeys were spared from brutal experiments when Mazor lost its last overseas client.

Yuval Ron, creator of a Care2 petition linked with Shut Down Mazor Farm on Facebook, hopes "that was the last nail in Mazor’s coffin. It certainly looks like we are approaching this miserable saga’s end."

Kinship Circle referenced information from Israel’s Let The Animals Live, for this alert and others. Ron praises the group’s Riva Mayor for ramping up the Shut Down Mazor Farm drive with swift, focused pressure.

Mazor Farm has since sued INPA for about $742,000, claiming the agency had previously authorized primate shipment to Texas. Ron calls the suit bogus, with no evidence of broken promises. "Either way, we won," he says. Mazor Farm is not yet shuttered, but the commercial breeder lost a primary customer and monkeys were spared from experimentation hell.

SOURCE OF UPDATE: Success! Israel Says No to Mazor Farm Sending Primates to USA for Experimentation

At Weizmann Institute of Science, a former lab tech’s testimony and video showed that Prof. Amiram Grinvald and his neurology colleagues squander time and money on painful experiments. We called for an investigation of Dr. David B. Omer’s lab, where monkeys are denied water and fed dry pellets to provoke thirst.

Each day, animals restrained in primate chairs are conditioned to react to a fluctuating spot on a computer screen. Those who demonstrate visual memory skills earn water drops via a mouth tube.

Two years pass, strapped into dark, narrow chambers. Then, a monkey’s scalp is partially amputated to affix a cement cap to bare skull. Immoblized monkeys resume visual acuity drills for another year. At three years, two holes are carved into a monkey’s skull. They are tied in chairs for 8-hour stints while cameras capture their response to spots on a screen. No painkillers are given.

For Dr. Shmuel Na’aman’s feline lab, a skull segment is surgically excised to uncover brain matter. A cat watches objects on a screen while a camera logs her nerve cell activity.

Upon conclusion, each cat is killed.

The experiments are cruel and ridiculous. Imaging technologies better manage data at the level of nerve cell networks, clusters, and even single cells. Imaging systems allow real-time observation of human cells and let researchers communicate with human subjects. It is impossible to replicate similar cognitive function in monkeys.
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Honorable Officials Of Israel,

As an advocate of viable medical research, I am concerned about studies conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Three decades of experiments upon monkeys and cats have failed to produce data with any functional purpose for human or veterinary science.

Nonetheless, Professor Amiram Grinvald and his colleagues in the neurobiology department squander time and money on invasive experiments disclosed in a former technician's testimony, investigative video footage, and the researchers' own documentation.

I ask officials to stop these irrelevant studies and probe allegations of animal mistreatment in Dr. David B. Omer's primate lab and Dr. Shmuel Na'aman's feline lab at Weizmann Institute of Science.

Dr. Omer presently works with eight monkeys isolated in barren cages. The monkeys are denied water and fed dry pellets to provoke thirst. For several hours each day, they're restrained in "primate chairs" where they learn to react to a fluctuating spot on a computer monitor. A monkey who demonstrates visual memory skills earns water droplets dispensed through a mouth tube.

After two years of daily seclusion in narrow, dark chambers, a monkey's scalp is partially amputated. Exposed skull is affixed to a dental cement cast or "cap." Post-surgery monkeys resume visual acuity exercises for another year. During drills, monkeys are bolted into restraint chairs and cannot move their heads for up to three hours.

At three years, two holes are carved into a monkey's skull. Over the next 12 months, monkeys are immobilized in chairs for eight-hour sessions to photograph their exposed brains as they respond to spots on a screen. No painkillers are administered during testing.

For Dr. Shmuel Na'aman's feline experiments, a portion of skull is surgically excised to uncover the brain. The cat's eyes are artificially held open as she watches objects on a monitor. A camera logs her nerve cell activity. When the experimental drills are over, the cat is destroyed.

I am shocked Israel's National Council for Animal Experimentation allows these experiments to continue — especially when imaging technologies better manage data at the level of nerve cell networks, clusters, and even single cells. Imaging systems allow real-time observation of human cells and let researchers communicate with human subjects. It is impossible to replicate similar cognitive function in monkeys.

I urge authorities to phase out primate breeding farms like the facility at Mazor and legally require input from more animal welfare experts on the National Council. Since the Council is empowered to ban animal use whenever a "reasonable alternative" exists, it ought to promptly order the Weizmann Institute to replace old-fashioned animal experiments with human-focused imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional MRI (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), event related optical signaling (EROS) or electrical impedance tomography (EIT).

The brain can also be studied via post mortem exam, donated human brain tissue, psychophysics, in vitro tests, cognitive studies, clinical evaluation of brain-damaged people, molecular genetic analysis, etc.

Please inform me of any action to shut down Prof. Amiram Grinvald's animal laboratory and modernize research in Israel.

Thank you,

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email addresses only,,,,,,,,,,, yohananplesner@KNESSET.GOV.IL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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Kiryat Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem 91950

Science and Technology Committee,,,,,,,,,,, yohananplesner@KNESSET.GOV.IL,,,

Education, Culture, and Sports Committee,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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Ministry of Science and Technology:,
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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
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Weizmann Institute of Science
P.O. Box 26, Rehovot 76100, Israel
ph: +972-8-934-2111; fax: +972-8-934-4107
Prof. Amiram Grinvald, Neurobiology:
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Weizmann Institute President:,,,

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