Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United States
ACT/ Smoking Monkeys In Absurd OHSU Lab

January 10, 2008

Subject: ACT/ Smoking Monkeys In Absurd OHSU Lab


1/10/08: Smoking Monkeys In Absurd OHSU Lab

PHOTO: Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) experimenter Eliot Spindel has been killing infant monkeys (like Thimble, pictured here) in nicotine studies for 24 years. But that's not enough for him -- Spindel has a ticket to ride the federally-funded gravy train and continue these needless experiments until 2012. campaign/ spindel?rk= Wd%5f5PAS1KwRCE

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Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.
Director, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Building 31, Room 5A48
31 Center Dr. MSC 2486
Bethesda, MD 20892
ph: 301-496-5166; email: nabele@nhlbi.

Joseph Robertson, Jr., M.D., MBA, President of OHSU
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, OR 97239-3098
ph: 503-494-7891
email Dr. Robertson through his assistant: elliojer@ohsu. edu

Dear Dr. Nabel and Dr. Robertson,

I am astonished Eliot Spindel of Oregon Health and Science University receives millions from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to conduct nicotine experiments upon monkeys. I respectfully ask you to stop funding these irrelevant studies.

Since 1972, NIH has awarded Spindel $7.6 million taxpayer dollars to dose pregnant monkeys with nicotine via pumps embedded in their backs. Spindel has failed to produce data that can't already be gleaned from human clinical studies. Yet NIH intends to subsidize his experiments through 2012.

Please invest federal money in education, prevention and smoking cessation efforts. It is fundamentally futile to pump nicotine into monkeys. We know smoking harms fetuses and promotes cancer of the lungs, larynx, tongue, salivary glands, pharynx, and esophagus. We understand its link to strokes, coronary heart and pulmonary diseases. We already know smoking is addictive.

Moreover, animals acquire nicotine intravenously whereas humans inhale it. Animals receive mass doses in brief intervals, while people encounter small quantities over long periods. In 1999, Science Journal reported the way a drug digests contrasts widely from one species to another. By the time a monkey excretes a drug, it doesn't look like the same drug in a human.

In fact, data derived from distressed animals is so misleading, early experiments prompted the tobacco industry to dub nicotine harmless. Epidemiological and clinical studies -- not animal experiments -- have disclosed all applicable data about smoking-related illnesses in people.

Nonetheless, Eliot Spindel squanders millions to impregnate monkeys and implant nicotine-dosing pumps in their backs. Females endure up to five surgeries as pumps are modified during pregnancy. Fetuses are cut out and killed during different developmental phases. Their lungs are dissected.

One caretaker who worked in Spindel's lab for two years stated: "Among the most horrifying things I witnessed at the lab were the times baby monkeys were stolen away from their mothers... A worker reached into the cage to rip the baby from her mother, who screamed and fought to keep her baby safe. Once removed, the entire room of monkeys erupted into pandemonium -- screaming, thrashing, and crashing against the sides of their cages..."

Some might attempt to argue animal suffering serves a higher purpose. But Spindel's lab doesn't serve progress. Please cut funds for these indisputably cruel experiments at Oregon Health and Science University.

Thank you,

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