Barbara J. King spoke at a recent Capitol Hill briefing, part of a panel seeking an ethics-based review of ongoing psychological research at a National Institutes of Health laboratory that uses monkeys in experiments.
King, the Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at William & Mary, contends that the federally funded experiments, which include subjecting the monkeys to stresses including forced maternal separation when the infants are 12 hours to three days old , are needlessly cruel and are unnecessary in light of modern scientific techniques. The event, “Beyond Monkeys for Better Science,” was hosted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. King was one of three scientists to speak, along with actor/activist James Cromwell and U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, the honorary host of the event.
King has written about the activities in the lab in her postings at NPR’s 13.7, Cosmos and Culture blog. The NIH has issued a statement in support of the primate lab’s activities and its review process.
The event gathered a crowd of 40 to 45, mainly congressional staffers who took notes from which they will brief their members of Congress. King said 30 legislative offices were represented at the briefing.
“Each of we three scientists spoke for 12 minutes, so we each had a fairly substantive presentation,” she said.King explained that the goal of “Beyond Monkeys” was to attract more support on the Hill for a bioethical review of the NIH primate lab. Cromwell’s presentation included screening video footage obtained from the NIH lab by PETA. A question and answer session followed the presentations.