From the recording MONKEY IN A CAGE
Meg Mathews, Maria Daines & Julia Stephenson 'Caged' for International Primate Day
'MONKEY IN A CAGE'
We're ready for Felix now...
Another day the same as yesterday
They'll come to get me and they'll wheel me away
I'll touch the screen what does it mean
To be a monkey in a cage?
I learnt the game the same as yesterday
My world is pain and I just can't get away
I hear a voice there is no choice
I am a monkey in a cage...
Day after day and year after year
They use the little monkey's in a cage
And day after day and year after year
They use the little monkey's in a cage
Get out of my way there's an animal in there dyin' for the day that he passes away
Get out of my face there's an accident in that evil place n' it's a waste of space
Get out of my way there's an animal in there dyin'
Get out of my way there's an animal in there dyin'
© Maria Daines/Paul Killington
4th December 2006
We were inspired to write this song after receiving the letter from Kerry, as below. Kerry's words painted a powerful picture and an insight into the emotions of an animal rights advocate. I wanted to demonstrate through music what I see as the turmoil of needing to free animals from a living hell, and also show the sadness of being the monkey in the cage. We hope to encourage empathy towards sentient beings and highlight the need to change laws in favour of protecting all animals from the horror of experimentation.
We can learn so much from sentient beings. Instead, the human race chooses to use animals as a disposable resource. MiaC is inspired by the misery inflicted upon primates who are used and abused in research labs world wide, it is also a way to thank the caring activists who call for freedom for laboratory animals, those who speak up for them and never give up.
I would like to thank Paul Killington my guitarist/producer for creating the music to MiaC with such unique impact and power.
'We all watched that programme on BBC2 on Monday and I don't know about you but I can't get Felix out of my head. He is living in a tiny cage right now and being prepped to have excruciating experiments performed on him which will (likely) last YEARS. He is still whole and hasn't had his brain exposed for torture just yet - can't we do something?
I don't think I could live with myself if we didn't make an effort to save him - now that I have seen him and looked into those intelligent eyes I don't see how I could abandon him knowing what is going to happen. I am also gutted that that there has been no public outcry over this, why hasn't it been posted everywhere and a rally of compassionate people fighting to save him?
I am not a songwriter and am not talented in that way at all but my feelings speak for me which is why I am so grateful for someone like you who understands the emotion people like me feel and can convert it into music! The 'song' in my heart is angry - there are elements of disappointment and sadness, frustration and incredulousness; but the overriding theme is, (unfortunately), anger - how dare we, seriously HOW DARE WE? At what stage in our evolution did we come to the conclusion that every other living being is ours to use and abuse. I am not just focusing on animals now but our host, our Mother Earth.
I realise I am going off topic but all this is related isn't it. Humans are on the top of the proverbial food chain and most feel this gives us the green light to use anything as a 'resource' whether it be another sentient creature or the very planet that gives us life! How arrogant our species is, I am disgusted to be a part of this. We are parasites. The definition is simply an organism who feeds off another life form and gives nothing back and ulitimately destroys its host. Who can honestly argue that the human race is not the greatest threat to all life? We have raped the earth, (as a species), and need to make amends.'
4th Dec 2006
"In actual laboratory experiments monkeys were forced to choose between electro-shocking other monkeys and doing without food themselves. Almost all of the monkeys went hungry for up to two weeks rather than shock others. These macaques, who have never gone to Sunday school, never heard of the Ten Commandments, never squirmed through a single junior high school civics lesson, seem courageous in their moral grounding and their resistance to evil. If the situation was reversed, and captive humans were offered the same deal by macaque scientists, would we do as well?"
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan in their book
"Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors"
Monkeying around with the truth
TV Review: 'Monkeys, Rats and Me', BBC2, Monday 27 November 2006
From Uncaged -
This documentary examined the ethics of animal experiments by using the SPEAK campaign and Professor Tipu Aziz's research as a case study. However, there were a number of fundamental flaws in the programme that amounted to a systematic pro-vivisection bias. This may come as a surprise to reviewers such as Lucy Mangan in the Guardian [i]. But her lack of knowledge of the subject means that she doesn't understand how the programme misled through omitting key issues, assuming controversial assertions were true, and by framing the debate in terms that directly reflect the perspective put forward by the pro-vivisection lobby.
An axe to grind?
Perhaps one of the most revealing comments made by the reporter, Adam Wishart, was that he had 'no qualms about killing a rat he found in his kitchen'. It's one thing to be prepared to kill an animal, but his total lack of compunction reveals his extremely unsympathetic attitude to animals. Wishart's value judgements were also betrayed by his description of non-humans as 'lower animals'. Wishart claimed that he 'had no axe to grind' – really?
Presenting controversies as facts
The concerns about underlying bias are exacerbated by the fact that Tipu Aziz's claims regarding the validity and benefits of his research were not subject to even cursory examination. Indeed, from the very beginning the programme's narrative worked on the assumption that Aziz's vivisection of monkeys was valid, predictive and necessary. Repeatedly, the claim that there would be no medicine if it were not for animal research went unchallenged, despite such an argument being rejected by the pro-vivisection Nuffield thinktank [ii].
Instead of exploring scientific critiques of Aziz's work, Wishart presented researchers as infallible experts driven purely by altruism. There was no investigation of the role of economic and professional self-interest in motivating animal research, or the historical context that now structures researchers' choices about experimental methods. [iii] Similarly, features of pro-vivisection activity likely to be particularly controversial were evaded. Thus Aziz's extreme position, exemplified by his support for cosmetic testing on animals [iv], and the financial relationship between the Pro-Test group and the pharmaceutical industry (via the Research Defence Society) were overlooked. [v]
Negative positioning of anti-vivisectionists
In contrast, the show portrayed anti-vivisection campaigners as violent and irrational – no scientific or academic critiques of animal research were aired. There was even an attempt to undermine the moral basis of campaigners through the suggestion that the main motivation of activists was a sense of belonging to a like-minded network. Interestingly, Wishart never attempted to second-guess the motivations of vivisectors.
The truth about vivisection secrecy
This positioning of the anti-vivisection movement was designed to present it in an unpopular light, and fed into one of the documentary's most misleading themes (once again unquestioningly reflecting Aziz's claims): that the secrecy surrounding vivisection was due entirely to 'extremist' action. Was this lazy or dishonest journalism? For, the fact of the matter is that secrecy in this policy area predates animal rights militancy by about 100 years. The most detailed historical study of animal research policy is Richard French's (1975) Antivivisection and Medical Science in Victorian Society (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Discussing his methodology, he notes:
'My account of the administration of the [1876 Cruelty to Animals] Act is largely based upon Home Office ~156 letterbooks. It is a measure of the sensitivity of the vivisection issue that these documents remain under one hundred year restriction and I am most grateful to the Home Office for permitting me to examine the nineteenth-century letterbooks for the purposes of this study'.
The underlying reason for secrecy in this policy area is to minimise public awareness of animal suffering and thus control the political agenda. In reality, what is happening at the moment is that a tight-knit network comprised of government policy-makers, animal research industry leaders and some in the media with a fairly extreme pro-animal research agenda are promoting the storyline of 'animal rights extremism' as a way of positioning and discrediting anyone critical of the status quo in animal research policy, and to suppress legitimate freedom of information. The Research Defence Society's internal newsletter gives the game away. Contradicting their public statements, they state: 'it is very safe to speak out in the media'. [vi]
Hiding animal suffering
To complete the set of pro-vivisection myths, the programme promoted the idea that animal experiments were not painful. Once again, Aziz was permitted to make false assertions with impunity. He claimed that pain 'was not part of the process of his research'. Yet anyone with any knowledge of his research knows this is untrue. The programme showed the initial stages of his research, where Felix the monkey was forced to spend hours in a tiny cage as he was trained to perform certain movements. This was disturbing enough in terms of the severe behavioural limitations imposed on the monkey and resultant psychological suffering. However, the later and most severe stage of the experiments – which were not broadcast - involved the artificial induction of 'Parkinsonism' (NB this is not the same as human Parkinson's Disease) through damaging the brain of the monkey, resulting in a range of significant disabilities and illnesses. Similar earlier experiments were recognised by the Home Office as having to cause 'substantial' pain and suffering [vii].
The inaccurate, sanitised image of animal experimentation presented by the programme typified its general pro-vivisection agenda. Interestingly, Aziz's denial of animal pain in his experiments suggests that he is incapable of fulfilling the legal responsibilities of a licence holder – not that the Home Office is genuinely bothered about compliance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
In conclusion, 'Monkeys, Rats and Me' presented a heavily one-sided and distorted perspective on this most heated of controversies, a manifestation of the boasts of pro-vivisectionists about their privileged access to journalists. Ironically, in a context where pleas are made for rational debate as a means of resolving the more extreme aspects of this conflict, this piece of propaganda will do nothing to encourage a reduction in the 'extremism' it purported to highlight.
Commentary by Peter M. Henriksen -
What We Did to Rodney
We called him Rodney. He was a tall, gangly, flea-bitten shepherd mix. One ear stood up, shepherd style, and the other flopped over and bounced against his head like a rag doll when he ran. His head and feet were too big for his thin but muscular body. A stale, musty odor accompanied him from flea-infested skin and neglected ears. Altogether, he wasn’t much to look at—one of thousands of dogs facing the world without the luxury of an owner.
I was in my third year of veterinary school and he came from the local dog pound. For the next quarter, four of us students would practice surgery techniques on him—the first of our small animal surgery training. He was always happy to see us—tail thumping wildly against the walls of his small steel cage. From the looks of him Rodney hadn’t had much of a life, so a pat on the butt and a little walk around the college complex made his day.
The first thing we did was neuter him, a seemingly benign project except it took us an hour to complete the usual 20-minute procedure, and anesthetic overdose kept him out for 36 hours. Afterward he recovered his strength quickly and felt good.
Two weeks later we did an abdominal exploratory, opening his abdomen, checking his organ inventory, and closing him again. This was the first major surgery for any of us, and with inadequate supervision we did not close him properly. By the next morning, his incision had opened and he was sitting on his small intestine. Hastily, we sewed him up again, and he survived. But it was a week or more before he could resume the walks he had come to eagerly anticipate. He would still wag his tail when he arrived and greet us with as much enthusiasm as he could muster.
The following week, again when he was under anesthesia, we broke his leg and repaired it with a steel pin. After this Rodney seemed in almost constant pain, his temperature rose, and he didn’t rebound as he had in the past. His resiliency gone, despite antibiotic treatment, he never recovered completely. He could no longer manage his walks, and our visits generated only a weak thump of his tail. The shine was gone from his brown eyes. His operated leg remained still and swollen.
The quarter was ending, and Rodney’s days were numbered. One afternoon we put him to sleep. As the life drained from his body and his eyes lost their focus, my attitude toward animal research began to change.
I am a scientist, weaned on the scientific method, and should be a staunch believer on the use of animals for research. … After 15 years in the veterinary profession, I now believe there are moral and ethical considerations that outweigh the benefits. Because we happen to be the most powerful species on earth, we humans have the ability—but not the right—to abuse the so-called lower animals. The ends do not justify the means.
Peter M. Henriksen is a veterinarian.
Reprinted with permission from The Mansfield News-Journal, July 28, 1989.
Here are some supportive quotes from MEP's about the MiaC/APE (Against Primate Experiments) initiative:
"No civilised country should be using highly intelligent and sensitive creatures for experiments, the purpose of which is all too often simply to make money. Crude 18th century medical practices have no place in our 21st century world".
Norman Baker MP
"I am very happy to support this song and the campaign to ban experiments on primates. It is clear that primates are intelligent beings with feelings. We should not therefore subject them to needless suffering and pain. I hope this song will help highlight the campaign and increase the pressure on Government to ban experiments on them".
Mike Hancock CBE MP
"Nobody wants to put human life or health at risk but increasingly we are aware that primate testing is largely unnecessary. We can therefore move towards a world when we no longer have to sacrifice primates in the search for scientific advance. In the first instance we can absolutely ban the use of the great apes and of animals caught in the wild. Then we can put the pressure on to find and validate alternatives to the tests that currently use macaques and marmosets."
John Bowis MP
"I think the song is excellent, and I applaud this noble effort in raising awareness of the horror of primate experimentation" .
Paul Blanchard MP
"As an MP, I have always campaigned for the welfare of all animals. As our closest relatives, experimentation on primates is particularly disturbing. I very much hope that this song will continue to raise awareness about the suffering of primates".
Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP
"As a race Mankind has evolved, into a superior technical and scientific wonder of this Earth.
But for all of 'Mans' wonders he has forgotten the simplest thing - to respect the animal kingdom with the rights it truly deserves.
Man can and must find alternatives to animal experiments, for if we do not, an important part of our intelligence as human beings is wasted.
Animals are not lower beings, they feel a vast range of feelings close to our own, we owe them a more dignified life, and I wish this song great success in raising awareness to those who SUFFER with no voice, to say - No to animal testing!"
Melita Morgan, Actress
"With the wealth of evidence circulating outside the control of the media it is clear to most people that there are big problems in seeking to advance human medicine by relying on the use of animals. Significantly, the use of our closest cousins in this quest reveals insignificant benefits and unacceptable suffering.
It is a widely held view that the time has come for things to change for the better. There are a number of exciting projects in the pipeline aimed at bringing positive changes and Monkey in a Cage is one of them. Despite what we are led to feel, every one of us has an immense amount of power to effect change. Here it begins".
Keith Mann, author of From Dusk 'Til Dawn
"Maria Daines is one of the greatest singers in the animal rights movement! Her great song, "Rise Up", has been played extensively in the US.
Her new song, "Monkey in a Cage", is a real winner! Another great song from Maria Daines!"
Bob Pyle, Apples and Oranges, Animal Rights Songwriter
I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't...
The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.