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Animal rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it would stage protests outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Friday urging the premier health research institute to release to a sanctuary the animals kept in its laboratories for more than three years.

‘PETA would stage a protest outside the AIIMS Friday at noon. We want to draw attention towards the institute’s central facility that should have rehabilitated the animals after three years of use in testing,’ PETA India’s chief functionary Poorva Joshipura said, in a statement here.

‘The innocent monkeys being held by AIIMS have been given life sentences with no chance of parole. The least AIIMS can do for these abused animals is to release them to a sanctuary where they can be truly rehabilitated,’ she added.

International celebrity Pamela Anderson had written a letter to the AIIMS director N.C. Deka Feb 19, asking him to free the aging monkeys held at the institute’s labs.

Anderson sent the letter on behalf of PETA India after watching video footage taken secretly inside AIIMS.

The video shows horrifying conditions under which the animals have been caged, including rabbits suffering from an infectious skin disease and rats with wounds being denied veterinary care.

‘It broke my heart to see the suffering that is documented in the enclosed video. But the animals suffering behind closed doors at AIIMS must endure this nightmare every day,’ the actress wrote.

In the letter, the former ‘Baywatch’ star, who visited India to participate in realty show ‘Big Brother’, said out that many of the monkeys at AIIMS have been languishing in cramped, rusty cages for more than a decade and that one monkey has been suffering in these conditions for nearly 20 years.

According to the legal framework, laboratories in India are required to rehabilitate animals after three years of biological use.

However, AIIMS officials denied the charges of animals being ill-treated.

‘We appreciate and respect the sentiments of PETA also. They can come and visit the central facility and we are sure they will be happy after the visit,’ AIIMS spokesman Y.K. Gupta told.

‘We promise that the animals are kept in much better and upgraded conditions at the hospital’s laboratories. As far as the release is concerned, we have certain specifications related to the period of stay of the animal, the period of testing and various other specifications which are to be studies before the release,’ he added.

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