Retire old monkeys, urges Anderson; animals fine, says AIIMS

Saturday, February 19, 2011

NEW DELHI - With Hollywood celebrity Pamela Anderson taking up the cause of the ageing monkeys kept caged at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the premier health institute Saturday insisted the animals are kept in upgraded and humane conditions.

Firstly, we are yet to ascertain the authenticity of the letter (by Pamela Anderson). But considering that it has been directed by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), we promise that the animals are kept in much better and upgraded conditions at the hospital’s laboratories,” AIIMS spokesperson Y.K. Gupta told IANS.

He was reacting to Anderson’s letter on behalf of PETA India, in which she, after watching video footage taken secretly inside the institute, asked AIIMS director N.C. Deka to free the ageing monkeys kept caged at the institute’s central facility.

Gupta said: “There are 43 monkeys at the facility, and all of them are less than 10 years of age.”

In the letter Saturday, the former “Baywatch” star, who recently also made a brief appearance at “Bigg Boss” in India, pointed out that many of the monkeys at the AIIMS have been languishing in cramped, rusty cages for more than a decade and that one monkey has been suffering in these conditions for nearly 20 years.

According to the AIIMS authorities, the hospital abides by the guidelines of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA).

“We have a CPCSEA visit scheduled to happen. We are even willing to invite PETA after a nod from the director, added Gupta.

According to the legal framework, laboratories in India are required to rehabilitate animals after three years of biological use.

The video showed horrifying conditions under which the animals have been caged, including rabbits suffering from an infectious skin disease and rats with wounds being denied veterinary care.

“It broke my heart to see the suffering that is documented in the enclosed video. But the animals suffering behind closed doors at AIIMS must endure this nightmare every day,” the actress wrote.

PETA India demanded that the institute shift caged animals to a sanctuary and switch over to modern, humane non-animal research and training methods.

Filed under: Environment

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