News Local

UBC under fire for alleged animal testing

By Erica Bulman, 24 Hours Vancouver

Protesters brought their dogs out to the seawall for a protest against UBC animal research. (CARMINE MARINELLI, QMI AGENCY)

Protesters brought their dogs out to the seawall for a protest against UBC animal research. (CARMINE MARINELLI, QMI AGENCY)

Some 20 people and their dogs marched along the seawall in hopes of creating a connection in the public's mind between family pets and animals used for testing at UBC laboratories.

"Our companion animals are no different than the animals used at UBC," said Brian Vincent of Stop UBC Animal Research. "They feel pain, sadness, despair and loneliness."

Bill Milsom, head of zoology at UBC, said the university is bound by strict care standards set by the Canadian Council on Animal Care.

"The rabbits and rats at UBC enjoy better air turnover than I even get in my office," Milsom said.

The group said UBC denies using dogs for testing on campus but claims it has proof faculty serve on research teams using dogs for experiments at other institutions.

"We haven't used dogs in research at UBC in over two decades, which is not to say that the expertise of our faculty has not been called upon by institutions who do," Milsom said. "However, we have no record of anything of that nature."

Vincent complained about UBC's lack of transparency.

The group said despite repeated Freedom of Information requests to UBC about its research "largely funded by taxpayer dollars," UBC refuses to provide details on the kinds of animals and tests it uses.

"All research at UBC is ultimately made public - the animals, the methods, techniques used," Milsom said. "Some information in ongoing work is not immediately available but is upon completion."