City of Hope research facility Executive Director, speaking after a US
ALF raid during which 115 animals were rescued from his lab, described
the act of compassion as one of ‘terrorism comparable to the hijacking
of planes and the bombing of embassies.’ But for those involved
in the rescue of animals condemned to suffer and die at the hands of men
who become monsters, there is no question as to who are the real terrorists.
One of the most dramatic US actions in the 80’s was to provide more
than ample evidence of this.
1,000 animals were rescued when the ALF hit the University of California
in America in the spring of 1985. Among those liberated were cats, pigeons,
rabbits, rats, deer, opossums, and a very special little monkey named
Britches, an infant stump-tail macaque. It’s him on the front cover
of the book. The five-week-old monkey—named Britches by his rescuers—was
the gemstone in this haul. He had been kept in isolation, his entire skull
and most of his face covered by surgical tape. This was holding in place
electrical equipment for a study into the combined effects of sight deprivation
and isolation (in a traumatised baby monkey). The weight of the device—from
which a constant, loud noise emitted—forced his tiny neck to the
side as he struggled to balance. It’s not clear what happened to
his mother, but she was probably used to produce more babies. He had been
taken from her just after birth and given instead a block of wood covered
with cloth to which he clung desperately.
was a few weeks old, blinded by a 40 year old man, his mother was gone
and he was trapped in a cage with a lump of wood as his only comfort.
But word was out. Someone on the inside had taken it upon themselves to
tip off the ALF, or at least someone who might be able to get word out
to the ALF. It didn’t take long. Following a brief period of surveillance,
masked raiders dressed in lab coats forced their way through the locked
doors of this vast basement laboratory by removing them from their hinges,
then rifled the labs of all occupants. The tiny monkey was lifted in cupped
hands with this bizarre medieval contraption held to prevent it over-balancing
his head, and he was gently laid into a carrier. Meanwhile, others wheeled
racks of rodents and carried various other animals to the loading bay
and eventual freedom. It was an impressive night’s work. It was
two weeks from word out, and within hours of his rescue, Britches was
in the hands of Betty, a sympathetic vet.
this day, 20 April 1985, I have been called upon to administer an examination
and follow up care to an infant stump tail macaque, male, my guess approximately
five weeks of age. Said infant liberated by the Animal Liberation Front
from the U.C Riverside laboratory. Attached to the infant’s head
by means of bandage and tape is an apparatus of some sort with what appears
to be some sort of electrical cord extending from it. It has been cut
(by the raiders). Bilaterally are short lengths of tubing emerging from
the bandage. Tape is in direct contact with the face and neck. Bandage
lifted totally from the right eye due to excessive moisture and right
eye partially visible. Beneath the bandage are two cotton pads, one for
each eye. The cotton pad for the right eye has slipped laterally beneath
the tape. Both pads are filthy and soaked through with moisture. Bilaterally
upper eyelids are sutured to lower eyelids. The sutures are grossly oversized
for the purpose intended. Many of these sutures have torn through lid
tissue resulting in multiple lacerations of the lids. There is an open
space between upper and lower lids of both eyes about one quarter inch
and sutures are contacting corneal tissue resulting in excessive tearing,
which explains the soaked pads. There are multiple bandage lesions on
head, face and neck of infant.
can only conclude that the suture placement must have been performed by
an unqualified or incompetent person and that the infant was not receiving
proper ongoing medical care. Such care would also clearly be subject of
malpractice given a veterinary or infant practice situation. Infant demonstrates
photophobia. Penis of infant is oedematous and inflamed. There are smegma
accumulations. Generalised muscle development poor. Skin dry. Body odor
they had done to this tiny creature was tragic, and even the hardest of
hearts would and should have been moved by this scene. Betty was finished
and stood back, but Britches didn’t seem to know he could finally
open his eyes. Then realisation dawned. His fingers shot up to his eyes.
Betty grabbed them and held them at bay afraid he would hurt himself by
rubbing. At first in one eye, then in the other, cracks appeared between
Britches upper and lower lids. His eyes began peering out. He was squinting
into the light, looking at the world for the first time since his eyes
were sewn shut. Fascinated by the experience, two now-twinkling eyes opened
fully. His head turned to the right and then the left, then sank back
again, it was as if he was saying, ‘I can see! Look at that! I can
see!’ He popped his thumb into his mouth and started sucking contently.
The little fella was going to be all right.
he was fully recovered, he was transferred to a rescue centre where he
was introduced to an older lone female, a potential surrogate mum. It
wasn’t his real mum of course, but it was the piece de résistance
in this amazing story to see how delighted each animal was to meet the
other. It was love at first sight. Britches was so excited!
experiment was of course legal and far from a one-off, the rescue illegal
and sadly less frequent. One scientist commented: ‘Unlike blind
human infants, Britches was also deprived of all social interaction, including
contact with his mother, and kept un-stimulated in a wire cage since birth.
He could not have developed as a normal blind child would. It’s
rubbish research.’ No remorse from the University of course: "We
have reason to believe they [the animals] are in worse hands [than at
the University]" Ted Huller, University Executive Vice Chancellor
very likely now, is it Ted?! Few would dare agree with that statement
when presented with the film of this story. As is so often the way when
the doors to these places are opened, the term ‘scientific research’
takes on a whole new meaning.