Remember Randall, the sassy narrator from the "Honey Badger Don't Care" video?
Well, he's back as the narrator of a new video, put out by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, that calls for an end to controversial baby monkey experiments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism describes the National Institutes of Health-funded research as follows:
The experiment by UW psychiatrist Ned Kalin, approved in April, calls for removing 20 newborn monkeys from their mothers and subjecting them to anxiety-inducing tests [such as introducing them to live snakes]. After just over a year, the monkeys will be euthanized so that their brains, along with those of 20 animals in a control group, can be studied with newly developed brain-imaging equipment.
(You can read Kalin's description of his research here.)
ALDF's blog post about the video quotes Randall on why he's come out against the monkey experiments.
"I want everyone to know we live in a world which has a very hard time learning from its past," he says. "I created this video because I do NOT want my tax dollars funding 'baby monkey terror tests.' Experimenting on animals, especially in this day of technology and science, is archaic, disgusting and beyond inhumane."
However, university spokeswoman Lisa Brunette takes issue with these experiments' characterization as cruel. She told The Huffington Post the baby rhesus monkeys will be raised together in a nursery, in conditions that differ "little from what occurs in zoos when infant animals are rejected by their mothers and placed in nurseries, or even what transpires when calves are separated from cows on a typical Wisconsin dairy farm."
Brunette goes on to say that "premature human infants undergo a similar separation from their mothers in neonatal intensive care units." She also says that any snakes the baby monkeys are exposed to in the course of these experiments will be "enclosed in a covered Plexiglas container in the same room but outside the monkey’s cage.
The monkeys are expected to develop "a mild version of the symptoms of anxiety and depression," she says, which is biologically very similar to that of humans, and will therefore "allow researchers to examine specific structures in the brain and specific chemicals that may be linked to anxiety disorders."
But not everyone sees it that way.
"We're killing baby monkeys," is how UW-Madison bioethicist Rob Streiffer put his evaluation of this experiment to the Wausau Daily Herald back in August. "There are other things that have been done that are worse, but that's not a justification for saying that this isn't really, really bad."
The ALDF's video ends by asking viewers to sign a Change.org petition to cancel the experiments. On Friday afternoon, the petition had more than 312,000 signatures.