The European Animal Research Association (EARA) condemns the undercover investigation carried out by the German animal group Soko Tierschutz, in collaboration with the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany (MPI).
EARA supports the use of Non-Human Primates (NHP’s) to study the neural mechanisms of psychiatric and neurological pathological conditions. The alternative methods to investigate neural underpinnings of psychiatric and neurological pathological conditions, as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) mentioned by the BUAV, are correlational studies that do not answer the fundamental question of ‘cause and effect’. In these cases, we require the continued use of animal models.
Undercover investigations pose a great threat to the scientific community and the overall advancement of biomedical research. This kind of footage is manipulated to produce an emotional response on the audience rather than to provide an accurate representation of the reality. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that the length of the video is 7 minutes although the investigation lasted 7 months.
EARA urges the German scientific community and the general public to give its backing to the Max Planck Institute by rejecting these skewed accusations. Some renown scientists from different affiliations have already given their expert support:
Professor John Duncan, of Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology, said: “The past 15 years have seen unprecedented growth in our knowledge of brain function from MRI imaging experiments. But MRI imaging averages together signals from millions of single nerve cells or neurons, and it is the detailed electrical communication between these neurons that holds the key to understanding brain function. The MPI group are world leaders in bridging the gap from MRI imaging to study of single neuron – essential both if we are to understand the meaning of human studies in health and disease and to reduce the long-term need for animal experiments.”
Professor Kristine Krug, of Oxford University’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, said: “With their ground breaking research on how brain imaging relates to actual brain function, scientists at the Max-Planck-Institute of biological cybernetics have made one of the major contributions to brain research and with it to clinical practice of the 21st century. Patients with strokes, neurodegenerative diseases and other brain injuries benefit already from clinicians applying these insights gained by basic research.”