THE FELIX CAMPAIGN
'Felix' was the name given by vivisector Tipu Aziz to a macaque monkey whom he abused and tortured for one entire year. The irony of his naming should not be lost on us. Tipu Aziz avowedly has no feelings for animals, yet he had chosen a name for the animal that was to be his slave. Aziz has freely admitted: if it was left up to him he would kill animals in order to test cosmetics and Aziz also believes we should be experimenting on Great Apes.
It is difficult to comprehend the type of person that can perform barbaric and gruesome procedures on a living sentient creature This person, if that is indeed the correct word for such an individual (monster, would probably be more apt), is capable of looking into the eyes of an innocent non human victim everyday but yet is incapable of feeling pangs of remorse or even sympathy with regards to the pain and suffering they are inflicting on an individual capable of a full range of emotions from fear, to pain through to happiness.
Felix was the monkey who featured in the BBC2 documentary, ‘Monkeys, Rats and Me’, aired on 27th November, 2006, which showed the sanitized, ‘acceptable’ face of vivisection that vivisectors want the public to see.
Felix was shown strapped to a restraining chair, being conditioned by Oxford University technicians for his future life of torture. For the camera, Felix’s ‘conditioning’ was allowed to take place ‘on his own terms’: the technicians did not force him to sit in the restraint chair or to come out of his cage if he appeared reluctant. Those who have themselves witnessed the harsh realities of life in the laboratory when working undercover and released their stories and their evidence to the wider public would say that this was a falsified representation of what goes on in laboratories, and biased media coverage at its most blatant.
Given the obvious imbalance of power in such a situation, and the vulnerable position of the victim (not to mention the fact that time is money, which makes the victim’s compliance essential), it seems fairly obvious that to gain control one must exert one's power and authority. That is how the training of animals is achieved. It is defined by control and by deprivation. It is not and never can be an act of co-operation, and must always be an act of control. Let us not forget that no monkey or dog or cat or any other animal including us would volunteer to be maimed or butchered or poisoned. It is - on a simple, basic level - counter to the survival instinct, which is generally to avoid pain and suffering, and of course death. To be able to exercise control, the oppressor must have a compliant victim; a vivisector’s or technician’s power lies in the fear that he or she can exert on their subjects. The reality of Felix’s life is that he was afforded no gentleness, respect or dignity from his torturers. He was taught to fear.
These are not fanciful propagandist claims made by the vivisector’s opponents, but well-documented facts – indeed, these are facts that we highlighted in an article posted on the SPEAK website, which reproduced an application (leaked to us from the Home Office) from a leading Oxford University vivisector seeking to vivisect on primates.
Amongst the documents made available to us was paperwork which proved that the standard method employed to coerce a monkey into compliance in order to facilitate experiments is to starve them. That, one might argue, is hardly ‘humane’ or given to allowing the animal to accept their conditioning on their own terms. It is an exercise in brutality, and one to which Felix was undoubtedly subjected and had to endure until his death.
At the time the BBC2 documentary was being filmed, Felix was destined to undergo surgery on his brain. Despite what university representatives might say, Felix's final few months would have been filled with pain, torment, and much, much suffering. There’s no hiding this fact and people should be made aware as to what exactly Felix went through in his final months. We can now disclose that Felix had the top of his skull sliced off, a procedure that has been documented through human and non human primate research as extremely painful. Electrodes were forced into his brain and then he was fitted with a cranial chamber (a box like contraption that sits on top of the skull). His pain must have been unbearable but he had no one to comfort him. Just a barren cage surrounded him, there were no comforts. There was no kin to cuddle up to, to ease his pain. He was alone until the day his torturers had finished with him; the day they put him to death. During the first week of September 2007 SPEAK learned that Felix had finally been put to death by Oxford University. Felix was born in a cage, lived and suffered in a cage, and ultimately died in a cage, never having experienced the freedoms which were his birthright.
Remember George, blinded by and mocked by an Oxford vivisector; the same vivisector who had been investigated by the police for cruelty to a macaque called Jez. Remember Bjee, another victim of Oxford University’s vivisectors.
Let’s not forget, Oxford University have the audacity to label themselves as an institution of ‘academic excellence’! However, the reality is that the life Felix and so many others have been forced to endure has nothing to do with 'academia', but everything to do with arrogance; an arrogance of individuals who hold life so cheap, that they can dictate not just how and when to end a sentient life, but how much suffering they can and will inflict upon that life.
It is vital that Felix isn’t forgotten. Felix was not a number. He was an individual, just like all the other animals being held and abused at Oxford University. Until now, SPEAK's fight to end Oxford University's plans to build a new animal lab had been a fight against a concept, bricks and mortar if you like. Felix brings the individual living being into this fight. We are, after all, not fighting against a building but against the uses that this building will be put to and the non human animals that will be imprisoned, abused and ultimately killed in the building now being constructed on South Parks Rd; non human animals like Felix who will be killed in their thousands in this new research centre.
Felix is dead now, and it’s important that we remember him. We have looked at the photos of him on numerous occasions and have been lost in his sad expression, his beautiful face. We will never forget him. Cry if you want to. Don’t be ashamed to mourn his sad, sad life. At SPEAK everyone has shed a tear for poor Felix. We had for months now been fighting to save Felix but we couldn’t save him despite all the efforts we put into getting him released. However, the fight has not been in vain: it continues.
This is far from the end of Felix's story. This is just the beginning. We know more today than we ever knew about the project Felix was being used and abused for. We now know that Felix was just the first victim of a 5 year project that began in 2006; a project that will be using, abusing and killing 2 macaque monkeys every year. The project will run for 5 years, which means that it still has about 4 years to run.
From the beginning of our Fighting for Felix campaign we have maintained that although Felix was an individual he was also a symbol. A symbol for not just the 1000's of animals dying inside Oxford University every year but the hundreds of millions being sacrificed in a fraudulent scientific practice worldwide. We still have everything to fight for, indeed we owe it to Felix not just to keep fighting for the animals but to redouble our efforts, and that’s exactly what we will be doing at SPEAK. First and foremost we must bring to an end the project that was responsible for the suffering and death of Felix. Remember this, 8 macaque monkeys will be suffering the same fate as Felix over the next 4 years if we don’t stop the vivisectors at Oxford University.
Join with us. This battle is far from over. The animals need you and we need you by our side to fight the good fight. Let Felix's memory live on in all of us as we battle to end the crime that is vivisection.
Click here to read Felix's Project Licence
In memory of Felix, a life so cruelly treated
The Fight Continues…
"It takes a rare kind of courage in a person to break free from the institutional indoctrination of a system which has people believing that there is no other valid way to further knowledge than to continue clinging to a 100-year old (plus) bad science."
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