Professor Doudet vindicated as investigation rejects animal rights allegations.

Two weeks ago we discussed the targeting by Canadian animal rights group Stop UBC Animal Research (STOP) of University of British Columbia scientist Professor Doris Doudet. STOP alleged that Prof. Doudet had performed experiments on monkeys without the approval of the UBC Animal Care Committee, and then lied in a scientific paper to cover her tracks, though as we reported at the time their allegations of professional misconduct against her were based on a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. We are now happy – though in the circumstances not very surprised – to learn that an independent investigation of Prof. Doudet’s work has dismissed the allegations made against her.

According to today’s report in the Vancouver Sun, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) carried out a detailed review of the research undertaken by Prof. Doudet’s team, and found:

no evidence to support allegations of animal cruelty against a University of British Columbia research team related to the deaths of four macaque monkeys.”

An earlier report on CTV news adds that the CCAC investigation:

found no evidence to support allegations that UBC was subjecting monkeys to cruel research experiments that were not overseen by the UBC Animal Care Committee.”

The letter from the CCAC to STOP detailing the conclusions of their investigation can be read here.

We asked Prof Doudet her views about this week’s developments, welcoming the news she said:

It is distressing to be wrongly accused, but the truth prevailed and we are all grateful for it.  MPTP always had unexpected effects, not only in monkeys but in the humans who unknowingly injected themselves with it: Out of the more than 100 people who were exposed to the drug in the early 80s, only a handful developed severe parkinsonism and there is no way to predict who will have such a severe negative response. But the MPTP primate model and the knowledge gained from it have played an important part in the basic understanding of physiological mechanisms involved in the disease, and this has been key to the development of many therapies for Parkinson’s disease, including DBS and the current testing of many gene therapies.”

We too welcome this news, though we wonder whether a formal investigation was really required to confirm what had been patently obvious right from the start.

Speaking of Research

3 responses to “Professor Doudet vindicated as investigation rejects animal rights allegations.

  1. UBC’s Animal Care Committee reports to the Canadian Council on Animal Care, but under the university’s rules the committee can only inspect animals once every three years and with 30 days notice. WHY IS THIS?? WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?

  2. Oh for goodness sakes Anne, the development of DBS for Parkinson’s disease over the past 25 years has been a classic example of clinical research and animal research complementing each other. It’s not a case of either one or the other, both were crucial.

    https://speakingofresearch.com/2012/03/15/a-brief-history-of-deep-brain-stimulation/

    The proposed experiment which would require 4 monkeys to be killed so their tissues can be analyzed is not a “follow-up” study, it is a different study entirely, as we and others have pointed out to you since you first made your allegations.

    https://speakingofresearch.com/2012/03/06/stop-lying-about-research-at-the-university-of-british-columbia/

    Your grasp of the facts is lamentable, given the seriousness of the allegations you have made against Professor Doudet. Did you even bother checking that only 11 monkeys were treated with MPTP in the study you are attacking, of which 4 were euthanized during the study. Pretty basic stuff really!

  3. Dr. Doudet, and the CCAC, fail to report on the professor’s follow-up experiments which clearly detail her intention to kill at least four more monkeys in order to harvest their brain tissue. Nor is the fate revealed of the 14 monkeys disabled by the potent neurotoxin MPTP who were not ‘humanely euthanized’ but sent on to be used in further protocols.
    And Dr. Doudet well knows, and Dr. Paul Brown admits, DBS was a clinical discovery and owed no Eureka moment to the suffering of animals.
    We cannot prove our case regarding the cruelty? Let’s wait and see.
    Ask the UBC people who have come to us in distress over their knowledge of the pain and suffering the monkeys’ lives at UBC entail. Ask Dr. Doudet – she wrote the book on pirmate use at UBC.