Target: University of Washington President Michael Young
Goal: Stop the University of Washington from tripling the size of its primate research lab
The University of Washington (UW) recently agreed to nearly triple the size of its primate research lab. The decision was made at a closed dinner at the President’s home in order for the university to intentionally shield the Board of Regents from public accountability. Despite the fact that other labs and research facilities are working toward more humane alternatives, UW seems to be heading in the wrong direction and this must be stopped immediately.
The development of the $123 million Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF) will nearly triple the size of its primate lab. The university’s ultimate goal is to increase its testing population of large animals, especially nonhuman primates. UW plans to triple the number of primates it currently uses for research purposes. This amounts to roughly 1,200 additional primates by the year 2020—more than 2,000 in all. ARCF will also serve as a means of increasing the lab’s capacity for animals kept in pens, such as dogs and sheep.
According to a complaint filed by the advocacy group Don’t Expand UW Primate Testing, “The ARCF project is extremely controversial because it goes against a nationwide trend away from using primates and other animals in bio-medical research in favor of more accurate, efficient, humane, and less expensive alternatives. There are already at least 50 validated alternatives to animal tests, and there have been major advancements in using microchips, computer models, artificial organs, stem cells, and other methods that replace animals with alternatives that provide results that are better applied to humans.”
The board unanimously approved the lab’s expansion at a public meeting, but trustees, however, discussed site planning, funding, and even how they would vote at a private dinner at President Michael Young’s residence the night before. In response, Don’t Expand UW Primate Testing sued the Board of Regents and its eight members, citing violations of the Open Public Meetings Act. Among the claims presented at the hearing were that the board violated public meetings rules by coming to conclusions as to what decisions would be made and how within a closed meeting by failing to post the agenda online and refusing to allow for public discussion on the matter.
Sign the petition below and demand that the University of Washington not only be held accountable for violating the Open Public Meetings Act, but also that they stop expanding their primate research facility and the perpetuation of backward and unnecessary testing on animals.
Dear President Young,
You, along with the Board of Regents, recently decided to nearly triple the size of the University of Washington’s primate research lab. The new facility, know as the Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF) will be used to increase its testing population of large animals, including non-human primates. Not only did the decision violate the Open Public Meetings Act, the expansion of this lab is also cruel and a step backward for biomedical research when there have been more than 50 validated and more accurate cruelty-free alternatives.
Please stop the expansion of this lab. Nearly every other major bio-medical research facility in the United States is moving toward testing procedures that don’t include animals largely because they have proven to be far less accurate as modern alternatives. The lives of the thousands of animals you use are worth more.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Understanding Animal Research via Flickr