Animal Advocates Urge UBC Donors to “Have a Heart” by Withholding Contributions to University

VANCOUVER (February 14, 2011) – Today, Stop UBC Animal Research urged some of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) highest donors to “have a heart” by withholding contributions to the university until UBC ends animal research. The group, which sent Valentine’s cards to more than 150 UBC patrons – many of whom have donated millions to the university – said its recent effort is part of a wider campaign to pressure UBC to halt its cruel experiments on animals, including on pigs, monkeys, cats, rats, rabbits, mice, and more. Stop UBC Animal Research also said it recently discovered UBC faculty have been involved in experiments on dogs at another institution.


“Today, we call on all UBC supporters to have a heart by withholding contributions to the university until it ends its cruel experiments on animals,” said Brian Vincent, spokesman for Stop UBC Animal Research.


The animal advocacy organization found UBC has been involved in experiments on dogs in Seattle. A March 20, 2008 paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation clearly lists a UBC researcher with the “Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency, and Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia” as one of the study’s participants. The study, High incidence of leukemia in large animals after stem cell gene therapy with a HOXB4-expressing retroviral vector,” cites the use of three dogs and two monkeys in leukemia research. The study notes “One of the 3 dogs that received HOXB4-transduced CD34+ cells died 3 months after transplantation due to transplantation-related complications… All the animals were euthanized due to deteriorating physical condition associated with leukemia.” All research conducted off-campus by UBC faculty is approved by UBC’s Animal Care Committee. Under UBC’s current system, such experiments on dogs by UBC faculty could continue. Stop UBC Animal Research has submitted a freedom of information request to UBC to determine if faculty are experimenting on dogs at other facilities.


Through its months’-long investigations, Stop UBC Animal Research has also learned UBC researchers have:


  • Cut open the backs of cats to expose their vertebrae, inserted titanium screws into the cats’ spinal columns to inhibit movement, and built restraint chambers around the cats’ exposed vertebra to give researchers access to the cats’ spinal columns and to fix the animals in a sitting position for recording sessions


  • Repeatedly poured a saline solution into newborn piglets’ lungs to induce respiratory failure


  • Captured wild songbirds in mist nets, withdrew their blood then decapitated some of the birds


  • Exposed mice to cigarette smoke continuously in emphysema research


  • Blinded monkeys in vision deprivation studies


  • Injected chemicals into the brains of monkeys


“For far too long, UBC has been hiding its animal research behind a veil of secrecy. Stop UBC Animal Research is pulling back the curtains because UBC’s donors, as well as Canadian taxpayers, have a right to know what the university is doing to animals with their money,” said Vincent.