Yerkes Researchers Demonstrate Efficacy of Combination Therapy to Reduce Cocaine Use in Non-Human Primates

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University in June published the results of their research showing that a combination of drug therapies significantly reduced cocaine use in nonhuman primates conditioned to self-administer the drug.

The researchers administer a combination of drugs that inhibit both dopamine and serotonin transport to a group of rhesus macaques who were conditioned to self-administer cocaine. In press release announcing the forthcoming publication of the results in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Yerkes’ Leonard Howell said,

It appears DAT (dopamine transport) inhibition serves to substitute for cocaine while SERT (serotonin) inhibition may limit the abuse potential of the medication. Our results, therefore, showing a combination of DAT and SERT inhibition were more effective than either alone are very promising.

According to Yerkes, this is the first time that a combination therapy has been shown to reduce cocaine use in nonhuman primates. According to the Yerkes press release, Howell will continue research into the combination therapy, turning to finding the optimal dosage level for reducing cocaine use.


Yerkes researchers discover combination of drug therapies reduces cocaine use in primates. Press Release, Emory University Health Sciences Center, May 24, 2004.

Jean Barnes Bizarre Letter about World Week for Animals in Laboratories

It’s been awhile since this site has reported on Jean Barnes, but in April she sent out an e-mail describing a protest that the Primate Freedom Project held outside Emory University. You might remember Barnes as the activist who thinks that research into gender assignment is inherently homophobic. She also turns out to be the activist who thinks her opponents are just sitting at home waiting for her to call. In her e-mail, Barnes wrote (emphasis added),

We had lots of media — including a one hour visit at WNNX where show hosts had invited at least 12 different Emory U. researchers to participate in an exchange with Ingrid [Newkirk]. None of Emory’s ‘trained medical professionals’ had the backbone to take on Ingrid — who to my knowledge — has no medical training. After WNNX was unable to secure an Emory dr. or researcher, they called around the US trying to get a medical type to discuss research with her. Again, no takers.

WNNX finally decided to try Ted Nugent. Ted could conveniently not be reached . . .

Yeah, I’m sure Nugent was home quaking in his boots at the thought of being called about a protest organized by Barnes.

Dang, they should have called me — I’d have debated that twit Newkirk. How convenient that Barnes didn’t bother!


Who’s Afraid of Ingrid Newkirk? Jean Barnes, Primate Freedom Project, April 28, 2004.

Does Jean Barnes Even Read Her Press Releases?

In October 2001, Jean Barnes of In Defense of Animals released a couple of press releases related to the Yerkes Primate Center at Emory University that were as bizarre as they were absurd.

On October 5, Barnes sent out a press release screaming “Busted: Homophobe at Yerkes . . .” Barnes accused Yerkes researcher Kim Wallen of “see[ing] tran-sexuals and homosexuals as ill” and added that “Fred Phelps would be pleased.” What is the source of such remarks? Barnes has conducted research into gender assignment in primates, rats, and other species, including research into the role that exposure to testosterone and testosterone antagonists plays in the socialization and development of non-human primates. According to Barnes, then, merely studying gender assignment is homophobic.

On October 11, Barnes sent out an other press release blaring that “Coca-Cola Wants Distance from Emory University’s Failed Animal Experiments,” in which she claimed that “The Coca-Cola Company is apparently attempting to distance itself form the demonstrated cruel and useless experiments currently being conducted at Emory University and Emory’s Yerkes Primate Center.”

Barnes’ argument in this case was hilarious. Apparently Barnes and others sent inquiries to The Coca-Cola Company asking them to stop supporting the Yerkes Primate Center. Coca-Coal sent back a form reply saying,

Thank you for contacting the Coca-Cola Company.

You had express your concerns regarding the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center. We have researched our donations and do not have any records of making any direct contribution to their research efforts.

Barnes still can’t get her through her head that there is a difference between setting up a $5 billion endowment for Emory University — which Coca-Cola has done — and giving money directly to the Yerkes Primate Facility. Barnes might pick an Emory University student at random — say John Doe — and then write a letter to Coca-Cola demanding to know why they are financially supporting John Doe’s education!


Coca-Cola Wants Distance from Emory University’s Failed Animal Experiments. Jean Barnes, Press Release, In Defense of Animals, October 11, 2001.

Busted: Homophobe at Yerkes . . . Jean Barnes, Press Release, In Defense of Animals, October 5, 2001.

American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Threatens to Sue In Defense of Animals

The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, Georgia, recently threatened to sue animal rights group In Defense of Animals in a dispute over a web site that In Defense of Animals maintains, EmoryLies.Com.

The web site targets Emory University and the Yerkes Primate Center, which In Defense of Animals wants to shut down. Probably because it is a high profile target, the group has lately been targeting Coca-Cola in its dispute over the primate facility. Although the company has nothing at all to do with the primate facility, it has donated more than $100 million to Emory University.

On October 11, 2001, the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is to highlight and encourage economic ties between the United States and Israel, plans to hold an awards ceremony at Coca-Cola’s world headquarters honoring “people and companies who have made a significant impact on business between the Southeast and Israel.”

In Defense of Animals plans to protest at the meeting and has posted information about their protest on the EmoryLies.Com, both of which are perfectly legal. But they have crossed a line in expropriating artwork from the AICC site and placed it on the EmoryLies.Com site in a way that would probably fool a reasonable person.

Judge for yourself. Here’s the real page from the AICC announcing its awards ceremony:

Now, here’s the page from EmoryLies.Com announcing their protest:

The overall effect here is clearly to make it appear as if the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce is somehow involved with or in support of IDA’s actions against Coca-Cola.

IDA released a press release claiming that the lawsuit would go the same route as a lawsuit filed by Stephens Inc. against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. SHAC had used the logo and web site design from Stephens web site to parody Stephens. They used the logo, for example, but added the words “Invest in animal cruelty.” A judge threw out the lawsuit, saying that this was protected under the First Amendment.

But the situation is very different with IDA since it has made no effort to distinguish the AICC materials as a parody. I suspect that Jean Barnes, who apparently created the site, will find herself on the losing end of this lawsuit.


American-Israel Chamber of Commerce threatens legal action against web site exposing bad science and animal cruelty. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, August 21, 2001.

Animal activists ready for fight–attorney retained. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, August 21, 2001.

More Hypocrisy from In Defense of Animals

Primate researcher Stuart Zola was recently hired as the new director for the Yerkes Regional Primate Center at Emory University. Zola has long been a target of animal rights activists because of his research efforts: has been at the forefront of studying the structures in the brain which account for memory. As he notes on his University of California-San Diego faculty web site,

During the course of our work, we have successfully established a model of human amnesia in the monkey, and we have been able to identify a neural system of memory in the temporal lobe that includes the hippocampal region (i.e., dentate gyrus, the hippocampus proper, and subicular complex) and adjacent cortical regions, i.e., entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices.

Shortly after he was named the new director at Yerkes, In Defense of Animals decided to kick their ongoing campaign against the primate facility into high gear by making an appearance near Zola’s new home. They distributed a flier showing a monkey held in restraints and said that since 1992 Zola had received almost $2 million in federal grants “to cut up the brains of monkeys.”

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution interviewed IDA’s Jean Barnes who had her ignorance and hypocrisy in fine form.

For example, the paper reports that Barnes objected to Zola’s research noting that despite all of his research, “we’ve still got cancer.” I’m not quite clear on how Barnes thinks research into the memory structures in the brain is supposed to lead to a cancer cure. And, of course, Barnes conveniently forgets that while cancer has not been eliminated, thanks to animal research there are now more effective treatments for many specific forms of cancer as well as much better early detection methods.

But it’s Barnes’ blatant hypocrisy about targeting Zola at his home that really jumps off the pages of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. IDA plans not only to continue harassing Zola in his neighborhood, but also plans to distribute fliers to employees of Coca Cola claiming their company is supporting the “atrocities” at Yerkes. Coca Cola has nothing at all to do with the primate facility, but it is a large donor to Emory University.

For someone so willing to harass other people, however, Barnes jealously guards her own privacy,

Jean Barnes keeps some details to herself, too. In particular, she doesn’t want to reveal where she works, fearing that Emory would pressure her employer to muzzle her, or worse.

Barnes helps IDA posts the names, photos, home addresses, and telephone numbers of Yerkes researchers, but then cowardly hides behind her own veil of secrecy.


Yerkes foes get up close and personal. Alan Judd, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, August 3, 2001.

Stuart Zola faculty web page. Stuart Zola, University of California-San Diego.

Animal Activists to Protest the Tony Awards

This Sunday, activists plan on protesting at the Tony Awards, which are scheduled to take place at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s the odd chain of command that will be bringing the activists to Georgia: Coca Cola is a major sponsor of the television broadcast of the awards. Coca Cola is also a major contributor to endowments at Emory University. Emory University researcher Harriet Robinson recently announced yet another breakthrough in AIDS research. A vaccine she developed helped prevent a simian form of the disease from developing in laboratory animals for 18 months.

Of course it goes without saying that activists consider such medical advances to be intolerable, so they will be out in force to let the world know that Coca Cola supports animal suffering.

The press release announcing the protest can’t even manage to be truthful (surprise, surprise, surprise). The release claims that, “Earlier this year, Emory announced Harriet Robinson, PhD. had once again made progress in an AIDS vaccine. Emory, Yerkes, and Robinson failed to mention the vaccine worked only in monkeys against a laboratory developed disease and that humans are unlikely to ever be exposed to this laboratory disease.”

In fact the releases sent out by Emory clearly noted that the research subjects were monkeys and described in detail the differing survival rates for the primates in the control group versus the primates who were given the disease. Apparently the animal rights activists were the only ones who, typically, were unable to tell the difference between human beings and animals, as numerous news stories about the breakthrough mentioned that the research subjects were non-human primates and included the standard caveat that such results are not directly transferable to human beings.

On the other hand, it is irrelevant that SIV is not quite HIV. The two diseases are extremely similar in the way they attack the immune system and the knowledge that was gained from this breakthrough provides very important information about how to tackle HIV in human beings, regardless of whether or not Robinson’s approach translates directly to human beings (preliminary clinical trials designed to test a human equivalent of the vaccine for safety purposes will probably get underway in late 2001 or early 2002).


Atlanta animal activists to attend a live broadcast of Broadway’s Tony Awards. Jean Barnes, EmoryLies.Com, Press Release, June 1, 2001.