SOUTH AFRICAN VETERINARY COVER-UP
press reports that the Roodeplaat Research Laboratories (RRL) had conducted
cruel experiments on animals during the testing of organophosphate poisons on
baboons, for the purpose of
eliminating enemies of the State, the Animal Groups Alliance of South Africa
wrote to the South African Veterinary Council in 1996 requesting that Prof. André
Immelman, a former director of the RRL who had authorised the experiments, be
removed from the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC), the purported watchdog
over veterinarians' ethics.
many months of what might be perceived as hedging by the SAVC, the latter
forwarded an affidavit from Immelman, countersigned by General Neil Knobel ex
Defence Force Chief, to the effect that (a) the RRL had not been a front for the
SADF (b) they admitted that organoposphate poisons had been tested on baboons in
cruel experiments but that this had been in
line with international standards
(c ) the
research had been of a defensive nature only (d) that no poisons had been
developed for use on humans and (e) that Immelman, contrary to press reports,
had not enriched himself in the process and was considering legal action against
anybody who might suggest otherwise.
arrogance and posturing was later matched by the SAVC's threatening attitude
towards a journalist who merely asked them why they did not act against this
subsequently put out a statement that Immelman had been 'cleared of unethical
conduct' as as his experiments had 'been
in line with international standards.' This
was widely publicised in the Sunday Times under the heading; 'Vet cleared of
unethical conduct.' A much more
balanced account was published in The Sunday Independent who pointed out that if
the cruel experiments on baboons had indeed been for defensive purposes, then
surely they would have been in the form of gases and not skin patches?
(An attempt had been made on the life of the Rev. Frank Chikane by means
of organo phosphate poison dusted into his clothes and absorbed through the
subsequent Truth and Reconcilliation (TRC) hearings, one of Immelman's
colleagues testified under oath that Immelman had
'told him that the military were furious over their failure to kill
Chikane.' The same colleague also
described the hideous trinkets from the Roodeplaat treasure trove - a bomb-proof
storeroom of toxins next to the office of Chief Scientist Dr. André Immelman, a
the SAVC act in this matter? Decide
for yourself after reading the letter below.
Then send your letters of protest to
the SAVC at fax: (012) 324 2394.
A MAJOR OVERHAUL OF THE SAVC NOW INDICATED
During the Apartheid years, there was a call from some of the members of
the medical profession for the South African Medical and Dental Council (SAMDC)
to remove from the register those doctors who failed to render adequate
treatment to the human rights activist Steve Biko.
It was an indictment on the Council that they failed to heed this, as
quite clearly these doctors had not honoured the Hippocratic oath.
With the change of Government, there was a renewed call for action
against these doctors and, indeed, there was a long overdue overhaul of the
As a result of the TRC hearings, there was a call for disciplinary action
against the medical doctors who had taken part in the Biological and Chemical
Warfare programme. As even the TRC
pointed out, these people as well as those veterinary surgeons involved should
have been saving lives, not taking them.
The TRC's final report states that in addition to the obvious issues of
professional culpability, negligence and criminal intent that apply to the other
Roodeplaat scientists as well, it has to be said specifically of Immelman that
he allegedly had full knowledge of the activities at the laboratories that were
under his control.
Is it therefore too much to ask that the SAVC should now take firm action
against Immelman? The SAVC still
very much represents the mindset that pertained during the past and it is high
time that there be a clean sweep and overhaul of this Council.
Perhaps then the general public will start to regain some respect for the
veterinary profession of which the credibility lies in tatters.
THE ROLE OF ZOOS IN THE VIVISECTION INDUSTRY (2)
Snout 2, we described in detail the role which the
Zoo played in
'laundering' animals for the vivisection labs.
The following sequence of events would point to the fact that this is not
the only zoo which was involved in
such nefarious trade.
branch received a telephone
call to the effect that the animals in the laboratories of the University of
Durban-Westville (UDW) were being held under cruel conditions.
In particular, there were 22 Marmoset monkeys who were all that remained
from an original batch of 44, sent to the UDW from London Zoo for
breeding purposes. These
monkeys were in urgent need of care and attention.
There was no qualified veterinarian in charge of this laboratory and the
temperature was far too cold for these little primates whose natural habitat was
the tropics. In fact, two more died
from pneumonia before SAAV could negotiate their release.
article is not about atrocities committed by the UDW, we will leave that part of
the story for another time. Suffice it to say that after many months of
negotiations and some pretty unflattering press reports the University agreed to
re-home most of the marmosets to a shelter in the North of KZN.
But 5 marmosets were handed over to Mr. Jim Stockley who lives on a
smallholding adjacent to the Natal Zoological Gardens outside Pietermaritzburg.
Stockley is related to the owners of Boswell Wilkie circus, who also own
the zoological gardens.
when Rozanne Hurley asked Stockley if she could see the marmosets to check on
their progress, this request was haughtely denied as was the information
regarding their exact whereabouts.
after learning some time prior to this that the South African Airways (SAA) was
transporting primates from South Africa to overseas vivisection laboratories,
Michele Pickover of our Johannesburg branch called for a boycott of the SAA, who
subsequently confirmed in writing to her that this would no longer be their
policy. And they appear to have been true to their word.
the 26th February
, the British Union for the
Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) advised Michele Pickover of a fax they had
received from the South African Airways Cargo to the effect that they had
refused an application for the conveyance of 12 pairs of Marmoset Monkeys on the
services of SAA to
(Charles River Labs is one of the more notorious animal breeding
facilities.) According to the very
factual video Hidden Crimes, the
specialises in supplying
custom made animals to laboratories. By
the time some animals are sold to a research facility some of
them have already suffered through as many as 17 different operations -
that is before the experimentation
begins.) The SAA had refused the
application as they were not satisfied that these monkeys would be used for
'Behavioural Research' as stated on the documentation.
The exporter was Bester Birds and
, on behalf of Jim Stockley in Pietermaritzburg
Pretoria Branch of SAAV contacted Mike Bester of Bester Birds and Animals, he
stated telephonically that he himself had withdrawn the application for their
transport to the
, on finding out that the
was a laboratory and not a
private person, as he had thought at the time.
This was contrary to the SAA's version of the incident.
He also informed SAAV Pretoria that he was starting a zoo.
He has since been granted a permit to do so.
And so the plot thickens.
in mind that it is fairly easy to 'launder' animals in international zoo-to-zoo
transfers, this is a matter of grave concern to SAAV.
'CURIOSER AND CURIOSER'
a submission to the TRC by the Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NIZA)
and according to Dieter Gerhardt who spied on
, a biological weapon
capability was established at the
This was prior to the establishment of the South African Defence Force's
front company Roodeplaat, around 1983, of which the directors were for the most
part drawn from the
(It is now widely known that the South African government was doing
research on an impotence drug with which they would target the black
No. 25 of the investigative magazine NOSEWEEK, mentions a series of coincidences
regarding the former Dean of Onderstepoort, Professor Beyers Hofmeyr who, while
at Onderstepoort, was also an officer in the S.A. Defence Force, working on
secret projects. According to an ex
director of the RRL who was at Onderstepoort at the time, the Military had their
operations at Onderstepoort until 1982 and moved to RRL when the State feared
they would be found out.
retired from Onderstepoort in 1981, Hofmeyr moved into a full-time job in the
Surgeon General's office - in fact, into an office right next to that of the
then Surgeon General, Neil Knobel (who corroborated under Oath to the Veterinary
Council, Immelman's statement that Roodeplaat Research Labs (RRL) had not been a
front for the SADF.) Hofmeyr stayed
there for the next ten years nd finally left the army just at a time when
Basson's secret projects were closed down. This
was also around the time when the RRL was liquidated and the mysterious BIOCON
Research Labs opened its doors down the road from the old RRL premises.
Two of the directors, the veterinary surgeons James Henry Davies and
Stian Wandrag, were ex the RRL (See
'Whatever happened to Jackie?' in Snout No. 2)
further co-incidence was that around the time when Basson was arrested and
applied for his testimony to be heard in camera, a letter appeared in a
newspaper, mentioning that
there had been a military break-in at Onderstepoort, when about ten armed white
men had removed the computer mainframe.
newspaper reporter who subsequently enquired about this, was told by
Onderstepoort that it had not been the computer main frame, but some minor
equipment that had been stolen. (In
a military style break-in? Ed)
truth about this dark era will probably never be known.
concerns us is that hidden behind all this there are animals who suffered the
tortures of hell during biological and chemical warfare experiments, under the
supervision of veterinary surgeons.
fact that the SAVC has not seen fit to condemn this practice.
DREAMS OF DR. FRANKENSTEIN
said that everybody is entitled to 15 minutes of fame.
Dr. Derek Attfield of the Pretoria Biomedical Centre, flagship of the
, had his when he achieved an
interview with YOU magazine. Under
the heading Dreams of Dr. Frankenstein,
Attfield expounded the benefits of head transplants in humans.
Those of us who have so far retained our heads intact will remember
Attfield as the recipient of the coveted SAAV 1995 Vivisector of the Year Award.
To quote Attfield: "The brain can live with blood supply to only one
all, he should know.