Group Says UBC Playing Fear Card to Deflect Attention Away from University’s Animal Experiments

VANCOUVER (October 28, 2010) – Today, Stop UBC Animal Research roundly criticized the University of British Columbia for “whipping up hysteria” about the group’s efforts to end animal research at the university. On Monday, a UBC official sent out an email to all students, faculty and staff warning them about the organization. Stop UBC Animal Research said the internal communication – which had been leaked to them by multiple sources – was an attempt to shift discussion away from UBC’s animal research activities and create a climate of fear on campus. Since Stop UBC Animal Research launched its campaign to expose the university UBC’s animal experimentation program, UBC has received widespread media attention and public scrutiny.


“This is right out of the research industry playbook. UBC doesn’t want the public to know its researchers have administered electroconvulsive shock to monkeys, forced saline solution into the lungs of newborn piglets, beheaded wild songbirds, cut open the backs of cats, and exposed mice to cigarette smoke,” said Brian Vincent, spokesperson with Stop UBC Animal Research. “UBC is playing the fear card to deflect attention away from the university’s cruel experiments on animals.”


In the university’s email, UBC Vice President of Research John Hepburn wrote, “A group of activists is campaigning to end animal research at UBC by distributing misleading information in an attempt to recruit people to their cause…They have succeeded in gaining some media attention and we expect to see more…Animal activists use shock tactics in an effort to gain public sympathy via news media. In other parts of the world, such sensationalist tactics have escalated to violence against researchers, and in North Vancouver earlier this month a group called the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) resorted to acts of vandalism against an individual in the fur trade.”


Stop UBC Animal Research has repeatedly emphasized to UBC that it employs peaceful, compassionate, and legal approaches to raise awareness about UBC’s extensive animal research program.


“Stop UBC Animal Research’s members include pillars of the community – business leaders, PhDs, engineers, social workers, teachers, architects, senior citizens, nurses, as well as UBC students, alumni, and faculty. As hard working, Canadian taxpayers we have every right to know what UBC researchers are doing to animals with our money,” said Vincent. “Unlike UBC, all of our activities are out in the open. Instead of hunkering down in a bunker mentality UBC should fully disclose information about its animal research programs. ”



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