Britches was the name of a newborn stumptail macaque, born in the University of California. Like any other baby macaque, Britches was born with bright, round eyes, goofy ears and a face that only a mother could love. Despite his quirky appearance, Britches was beautiful. On the day Britches was born, he was torn from his mother and transported to the University of California’s research facilities where his eyes were sewn shut with a thick twine, leaving him permanently blinded.
The experiment, researchers claimed, was designed to study the development of infants born without sight in hopes of helping improve the lives of children without the ability to see. But, with Britches stolen from his mother and thrown in a small cage with nothing but a cold, metallic cylinder to comfort him, he received none of the love or support a child should. Confinement and fear mixed with excruciating pain left the baby both physically and mentally scarred so severely that any results of the test would have been inconclusive. To this day, the scientific community cannot attest to any kind of scientific or practical purpose this study had, nor can they see any reason why it was conducted in the first place.
For five excruciating weeks, Britches was locked away, huddling absolutely anything in hopes of finding comfort. Then, on April 20th, 1985, members of the Animal Liberation Front stormed the laboratory that imprisoned Britches and rescued over 700 animals, including the young macaque. As they evacuated the victims, they did what they could to prevent further testing by inflicting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the equipment. The footage of the raid was released by PETA and national attention to the crimes that were committed in the name of science resulted in a full investigation. None of the 17 interrupted experiments were resumed.
Britches was taken to Primarily Primates, an animal sanctuary in San Antionio, where he began his recovery process. Though he would never see again, Britches did finally find the love he had been searching for for so long, being tended to daily and living with several other macaques. Britches died at the age of 20.
Britches’ story has a happy ending. Unfortunately, the vast majority of vivisection victims are not so lucky. Rarely do any of the victims of animal testing survive the ordeal. Many tests, including the LD50 tests, are designed to end the lives of the subjects. Every day, monkeys are forced to smoke cigarettes and rabbits have the irritants in shampoo dripped into their involuntarily open eyes. In some cases, the victims have even screamed themselves to death, suffocating because their lungs collapse.
Sadly, there is little regulation on what happens behind laboratory doors. However, by boycotting brands like Proctor and Gamble, whose tests range from the standard LD50 test, in which the researcher aims to find a lethal dose of a chemical by increasing the amount given to a control group until 50% of the subjects die, to debarking of the dogs they use to test dog food formulas. It is estimated that Proctor and Gamble alone cause 30,000 animal deaths every year and by familiarizing yourself with their products and never purchasing them, you can have an part in ending these cruel practices.
Please, if you are touched at all by this post, reblog it to raise awareness. These horrors aren’t necessary and are preventable, but the first step is educating those who might not know what their money is going to. Spreading this information is necessary to make sure that stories like Britches’ and the countless others that die anonymously in the name of science are never written.
Reblog for Britches.