Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Group Asks the Dalai Lama to Renounce Support for Animal Cruelty

April 23, 2007

Contacts: Rick Bogle 608 222 2348; Jean Barnes, Executive Director, 770 719 5348.

In observance of the 21 st annual World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 22-28), the Primate Freedom Project has sent an open letter to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama for the third time to reconsider his support of invasive experimentation on living animals' brains. See

“We have urged His Holiness to reaffirm his vow of compassion for all sentient beings. He seems to have stepped off Buddhism's Nobel Eightfold Path to enlightenment and is now wandering aimlessly, attracted to the glitter of honorary university degrees. He seems to be more attracted to titles and prestige than to kindness; it's a loss to the entire world,” says Rick Bogle, spokesperson for the group.

Largely unwritten about has been the Tibetan leader's transformation from an icon of kindness into an admirer of scientists like Richard Davidson and Ned Kalin at the University of Wisconsin who burn monkeys' brains with acid and then frighten them with snakes, scientists, and bigger monkeys.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state in exile and the spiritual leader of Tibet.

Buddhism is based on a set of profound teachings that urge us to harm no sentient being, to dispel all the misery in the world, and to recognize that all beings are as precious as our mothers.



Dalai Lama at UW-Madison:

Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. The role of the central nucleus of the amygdala in mediating fear and anxiety in the primate. J Neurosci. 2004

Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ, Kelley AE. The primate amygdala mediates acute fear but not the behavioral and physiological components of anxious temperament. J Neurosci. 2001



Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if Mr Bogle publically criticising HH Dalai Lama saying he is "attracted to glitter of honorary university degrees" & "attracted to titles & prestige than to kindness" is helpful or respectful whilst waiting for a reply from his office. Not only is it miguided, but its not smart.

Mr Bogle is obviously only respectful about HH Dalai Lama when its convenient. Not that any criticism would bother him.

Incidentally HH Dalai Lama is one of the only leaders of a major religion who is promoting vegetarianism, except for Jainism.

If Mr Bogle is persistent and respectful he may just get what we are all hoping for. He may be surprised that HH Dalai Lama is not "attracted to glitter, titles & prestige etc etc". Doesn't Mr Bogle think HH Dalai Lama has a high enough profile already? Who hasn't heard of him? He never needed the "glitter".

Don't forget this letter below. At least HH Dalai Lama has a stance about animal experimentation which many others do not. Go from there.

This is a letter sent to Rick Bogle by HH Dalai Lamas Private office.

Rick Bogle, Founder
Primate Freedom Project
2251-A Refugio Rd.
Goleta, CA 93117
805 968 4531

Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 04:19:09 +0530
From: Office of His Holiness the Dalai To:

Dear Rick Bogle,

Thank you for your e-mail letter of August 25 addressed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness appreciates your bringing to His attention about work of Dr. Ned Kalin. His Holiness was not aware that Dr. Kalin was involved in conducting tests on animals that were painful and extremely cruel.

His Holiness has always been against such tests on animals. In fact, when His Holiness offered to make a contribution to a research work by Dr. Paul Ekman on the subject of CULTIVATING EMOTIONAL BALANCE. His Holiness specifically pointed out that the research work should not involve experiments on animals.

With best wishes,

Tenzin Geyche Tethong

Rick Bogle said...


The letter you refer to, written to me from Tenzin Geyche Tethong in 2001, was cause for hope. Unfortunately, that hope was dashed by HH's continuing and consistent support for research such as Davidson's and Kalin's.

It's true that his assistant said in 2001 that HH was "against such tests on animals," but at Neuroscience 2005 (the Society for
Neuroscience's annual conference)HH himself said publicly that he supports this sort of work and thinks it is compassionate.

If only he would embrace the ideal expressed in Tenzin Geyche Tethong's 2001 letter. This is indeed a degenerate age.

Anonymous said...

Tell me what part of your action alert title "Is a monkey more compassionate than the Dalai Lama?" is helpful or a smart diplomatic move whilst awaiting a reply from his private office? I am a big supporter of your campaigns, but sarcastic remarks about a leader of a major religion who actually has more compassionate stances on humans and non humans than most other major religions is a little unfair since other religions have no stance on animals. Why bite the hand. He is approachable, and I'm sure you can manage to persuade him regarding animal experimentation without public sarcasm and referring to him as someone who needs "glitter and fame". Hardly. When or if he gives you a favourable response, will you then post "Thank the The Dalai Lama for being as compassionate as a monkey" as an action alert.

Rick Bogle said...

Hey Anon,

I appreciate your criticism.

The problem is pretty straight forward. He's been asked to clarify his position on this matter many times. His position is clear. Asking politely, again, will result in either no response or a response like his previous public responses.

The Dalai Lama's personal endorsement of vivisection has been used by at least one vivisector to defend his own experiments on monkeys. I think he is justified making this claim because he looks to HH for spiritual and moral guidance.

I really don't see that there is much to be lost. We can't provide the same prestige as can the institutions giving him the honorary degrees. If the Buddhist canon hasn't convinced him that harming an animal is like harming his mother (could, in fact be harming one of his past mothers,) then how can anyone?

As far as asking the question, is a monkey more compassionate than a Buddhist monk, I might have to say, in this case, yes, if we compare the monkey in the Masserman study who went without food for 12 days rather than shock another monkey, with Geshe Sopa or the Dalai Lama. Both seem content to sanction the animals' suffering on the basis that some goood "might" come out of it.

His good qualities aside (everyone has good in them,) his message on this point strikes me as grotesque.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who defends vivisection, directly or indirectly isn't worth listening to. As far as the feeble comment, 'His Holiness was not aware that...', the obvious response to this is that 'His Holiness' should have been!
It is absurd for anyone to express opinions when their knowledge of the subject is (obviously) inadequate.
Rick was absolutely correct in the comments he made.
People who prance around, attempting to gain attention for themselves by religious prattling and highly questionable argumentation are of no use to humanity or the animal world. The Dai Lama has shown himself to be one such person.
The sooner we see the end of all such individuals, the better the world will be.
And if what my comments herein offend anyone - well, tough...