Features

Let Felix be the Last


A macacque similar to Felix

In 2006, Oxford University allowed cameras into its laboratory to film Felix, a monkey scheduled to undergo invasive surgery on his brain and a long succession of tests. We at PETA were deeply affected by the plight of this small, lonely animal in his cage, unaware of the horrors ahead. We campaigned for Felix to be released to a sanctuary that we had found for him. Sadly, in 2007, we learned from Oxford that Felix was dead – killed routinely at the end of the experiments conducted on him. No television cameras were there.

Our campaign was about more than one monkey, however, and Felix's tormented life and premature death only inspire us to work even harder to prevent more animals from suffering as he did.

Felix was used in a sequence of experiments scheduled to last a year. He was trained to perform repetitive movements and then was due to have electrodes surgically implanted in his brain before being deliberately brain-damaged to create the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. After that, the effects on his brain and ability to move would be measured in more tests, and then he would be killed. Felix was not the only monkey used in these tests, but the others remained nameless and hidden from view. For a year, these sensitive, bewildered animals were subjected to escalating abuses: deprivation, manipulation, invasive surgery, disability and eventually death. The official licence permitting this work allowed the highest level of suffering legally permitted in the UK – what is clinically called "substantial severity".

It is too late to save Felix and his nameless companions, but it isn't too late to save others. As part of our ongoing campaign, we have forced Oxford to reveal information about the experiments on Felix that they wanted to keep secret – in fact, it is information of a kind never released to the public in the UK before.

But experiments such as these are still veiled in secrecy, and almost every single one of the 11,000 animals used in British laboratories every day are unknown and unremembered, except perhaps by those who used, abused and finally killed them. PETA is working constantly and relentlessly to help and protect those animals and to exploit every opportunity to save every life or spare them any suffering we can. But to do that, we need to know what is happening – and so, too, does the public, whose taxes pay for so many of these tests and whose government approves them. Please support our vital work by taking the action below. Felix's sad, lonely and needless death has to count for something. We must remember him as we work to help thousands like him.

You Can Help

PETA is calling on the UK government to end the secrecy surrounding animal experiments and give the public the right to know what really happens to animals in laboratories like the one in which Felix lived and was killed. The government plans to re-examine our existing laws on this matter very soon. Please write to Norman Baker MP, the Home Office minister responsible for animal experiments and ask him to respect the views of the public and the lives of animals like Felix by abolishing the current secrecy clause.
 
 

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