We have been working with the Stop UBC Animal Research group, and they put out a media release, which has received quite a bit of coverage (see below).
They're doing great work to shine the light on what's happening to animals behind closed doors. Congratulations are in order!
For the Animals,
Lia and the AAC crew
GROUPS FROM ACROSS CANADA, US, EUROPE CALL ON UBC TO DISCLOSE INFORMATION ABOUT ITS ANIMAL RESEARCH
VANCOUVER (OCTOBER 12, 2010) – Today, sixty animal advocacy groups from across Canada, the US, and Europe called on the University of British Columbia (UBC) to fully disclose information about its animal research programs. In a letter to UBC, the organizations – led by Stop UBC Animal Research and including UBC student groups, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, National Anti-Vivisection Society, Animal Alliance of Canada, Animal Defenders International, Born Free USA, In Defense of Animals, International Network for Humane Education, Liberation BC, and Vancouver Humane Society, among others – urged UBC to provide details about its animal research, such as the numbers and species of animals used at UBC, research protocols, research grants, assessments of UBC's research, any reports of UBC non-compliance of animal care guidelines, and photo and video documentation of animal experiments. The groups wrote “UBC’s lack of transparency to date has given the impression it does not want the public to see what researchers are doing to animals behind closed doors.”
“UBC must lift its veil of secrecy surrounding animal research,” said Brian Vincent, spokesman for Stop UBC Animal Research. “Since much of UBC’s animal research is funded by taxpayers, the public has a right to know what the university is doing to animals with public money.”
In their letter, the organizations expressed frustration that specifics about UBC’s animal research programs are hidden from the public. The groups wrote, “While published studies can be found on sites such as PubMed, information about UBC’s research, such as key data (e.g. numbers and species of animals used), veterinary and necropsy reports, and photos and video, has not been made available. UBC’s website, and both the Animal Care Centre and Animal Care Committee sites, provide little useful or detailed information about animal research. Furthermore, Canadian Council on Animal Care assessments of UBC's research and reports of non-compliance are confidential, which means the public has no way of knowing if the university has violated animal care standards.” The groups noted that other countries have a far more transparent system. In the US, for instance, the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture post comprehensive information about animal experiments online, allowing for public scrutiny of university research.
"It's time for animal experimentation at UBC to come out of the closet,” said Debra Probert, Executive Director of the Vancouver Humane Society. “Society has a right and an obligation to make informed decisions about how far scientists ought to be able to go when using animals in research. With the limited and cryptic information that is presently available to the public, this is impossible."
“Why is UBC so defensive about their animal research?”asked Liz White, Director of the Animal Alliance of Canada. “What have they got to hide? And why is the CCAC supporting the university’s lack of disclosure? Maybe the university is in compliance with CCAC requirements and maybe it is not,” White continued. “We have no way of knowing. Yet, approximately 100,000 animals are subjected to experimentation with oversight from UBC’s Animal Care Committee comprised of a majority members with interests in animal research and the CCAC, an agency whose governing body is made up of 25 organizations, 24 of which either conduct or fund animal research. The entire system is a closed shop. UBC spends millions of tax dollars without ever having to explain how the money is spent and how many animals are used and for what purpose. The University must open up its laboratory doors and its books to allow for full public disclosure. Only then will we really know what happens to the animals at UBC.”
UBC is one of the largest bio-medical campuses in Canada. Each year, UBC conducts thousands of experiments involving animals, including on cats, pigs, mice, rabbits, rats, non-human primates, and other animals.
MEDIA COVERAGE ABOUT THE SIXTY-GROUP LETTER TO UBC
Group demands UBC lift 'veil of secrecy' around animal testing (Vancouver Sun)
UBC animal experimentation questioned in letter (Canadian Press wire service. Story ran widely in newspapers across Canada, on CBC, Macleans on campus, other news outlets)
Animal-advocacy groups call on UBC to disclose animal-research activities. 'What have they got to hide?' activists ask (Vancouver Sun wire story. Ran across papers in Canada)
Drop veil of secrecy, UBC. Public has right to know, activists say (The Province)
Stop UBC Animal Research is a community grassroots campaign that employs peaceful, legal, and compassionate approaches to educate the public about the grim realities of research on animals at the University of British Columbia and to ultimately bring about an end to research on animals at UBC. Please visit their website at: http://stopubcanimalresearch.org/