Reading Time: 2 minutes Animals suffer horrifically in labs (Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new short film documenting the horror experienced by animals in laboratories has been released by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society [NEAVS] and We Animals.

The film is part of a campaign by NEAVS, calling on the National Institutes of Health [NIH] not to weaken laws meant to offer minimal protections to animals in labs.

The organization is asking people to ‘go online and tell NIH that animal welfare must not be compromised as part of the agency’s current attempts to decrease its regulatory burden‘.

Awareness and support

World Week for Animals in Laboratories, which is held during the last week of April every year, aims to increase awareness and support for the plight of animals in labs.

The short film released by NEAVS and We Animals, and created by filmmaker Kelly Guerin, highlights ‘the impact of existing weak regulatory standards for protections of primates’ psychological well-being as required by federal law’.

According to NEAVS: “Titled Empty Laws, the film captures what is wrong with already weak regulatory standards and enforcement that cannot be compromised any further.”

The film highlights the impact of weak regulatory standards on primates who are used in research

‘Unrelenting psychological suffering’

NEAVS says that although primates are genetically similar to humans, there are major biological differences that render them an inaccurate model for predicting human health and disease.

Film producer and NEAVS President Emeritus, Dr. Theodora Capaldo said: “It is not just the invasive procedures and the physical pain; it is the endless fear, suffocating boredom and absolute powerlessness to protect themselves that cause enormous and unrelenting psychological suffering in primates in labs.

“Add to all that ineffective and poorly enforced regulations and you know why they suffer tremendously not only during their time in a lab, but for many, even once rescued and safe in sanctuary.”


On her experience documenting some of the few primates ever to make it out of research alive, filmmaker Kelly Guerin added: “One of the most challenging aspects of telling lab animal-centered stories is they are mostly hidden from public view.

“Documenting the lucky few who had been placed in sanctuaries would be the closest I could hope to get. Though they have flourished under the peace of sanctuary life, their past traumas will always be with them.

“This film can help shine a light on the thousands of primates left behind, unseen, still in labs.”

In 2016, 71,188 primates were used in research or testing in the United States – a 15 percent increase from 2015.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.