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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Articles and Reports

Cheri Stevens Statement: California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC)

Inhumane Experimental Procedures

There is nothing humane about placing a post on an animal's head that is held in place with dental acrylic. First there is little room for error in the surgical procedure necessary to provide such an inhumane way to ensure an animal will remain still, whether they voluntarily wish to do so or not. More often than not infections will develop at the site of the head post unless cleaned more often than just daily.

I have witnessed a handful of animals being admitted to therapeutics in-patient care due to complications directly associated with head post implants. Animals not only physiologically reject these implantations, but also have difficulty adjusting to them mentally. I have witnessed animals pick at them until they bleed, grab at them to remove them, and even bang them on cages or rub against cage bars to try to knock them off. The bruising behind animals eyes tells me that this is not a pleasant recovery for the primates and some never recover from them at all.

It is my direct knowledge that animals involuntarily went without nourishment for up to twenty-four hours and sometimes longer due to "fasting policies." Fasting tags for the next mornings AM feedings were hung the night before by the Technical crew. If a primate’s cage received a tag marked “Fast,” the chow was to be pulled within minutes of the animal receiving it. Whether it had all been eaten or not, whatever was left had to be pulled out by an Assistant Animal Technician before the end of the day. So unless the animal hoarded chow in its cheek pouches or frantically devoured it, the primate's last full meal was eaten that day in the AM. On the following day the animal would not be fed again until after the animal had awakened from the anesthesia it had been put under to perform the procedure that had required the fasting of the primate.

Sometimes this would be mid day and other times primates would not be offered chow until the end of the day during PM feeding. If the day of fasting fell on a Tuesday or Thursday (fresh produce days) the primates would simply not get any. If the animal was not able to sit coherently by this time, then they were not offered food again until the following AM feeding, possibly leaving the animal without a chow offering for as long as 48 hours.

It has come to my attention that now fastings are handled solely by the animal caretaker assigned to the animal in need of fasting which may clear up some of the confusion of what animal was fed or not fed when, but it does not change the fact that animals were going without nourishment for extended periods of time.

After breeding, females are swabbed with cotton tip applicators to check for the presence of semen. This is not a procedure that the females enjoy. As a matter of fact, many of them must be squeezed into submission and forced into the correct position needed to obtain the sample from the primate's vagina. Often times a metal stick (I have witnessed these sticks being used as tools of abuse as well) is used to work the animal into position which causes distress from the animal being worked with directly, which then causes aggressive reactions such as biting down on the stick and fighting with it.

This procedure also causes distress in the animals who are watching what is taking place, causing them to call out in distress as well as rattle their cages.

Not all reactions to this procedure were aggressive. Some females would simply pull the cotton tip applicator from the technician's hand as they proceed to obtain the sample.

And, this step in the breeding program is inhumane and unnecessary seeing as the CNPRC has an extensive ultrasound program in place.

The UCD employment policy at the CNPRC has potential to be considered inhumane to the primates housed there and the employees responsible for the animals’ care. A typical work load usually consists of responsibility to feed and sterile clean four to five animal rooms, each room containing an average of close to 40 primates. That provides a ratio of about one animal care taker for every 180 primates, give or take twenty. It is almost impossible to do what is asked of you and provide everything humanly possible to these animals when you are trying to think of them individually, which is what is humane. They are all different and need special attention to their individual needs. It becomes all too easy to miss health, behavioral, and enrichment problems when you are caring for such a large number of animals.

Typically what ends up happening is that favorite animals are picked so about five to ten animals from each room will receive the extra amount of care that is needed in such a confined and unnatural setting. This leaves out those primates who might be less attractive, more aggressive, or repeatedly unsocial.

The ratio of staff to animals is inhumane in that it does not allow for the best possible life and care for these animals that are in a delicate situation to begin with, and one in which they themselves have no rights.

One experiment working with infants housed with their mothers included a procedure that required infants to be removed from their mothers and transported to a different location within the CNPRC for testing. Due to scheduling errors made by research staff, infants were often left alone awaiting the return of researchers from lunch or other duties.

Recalling one specific incident, animals were left in their transfer boxes in a dark room hearing nothing but the cries for their mothers, a cry that could be heard throughout the building, a cry that no one seemed to care to address.

I took it upon myself to investigate the situation and upon my findings I took measures to minimize as much stress in these infants as possible. With permission from the Enrichment Supervisor I placed stuffed animal “buddies” and fresh towels in the transfer boxes with the infants and kept them company for as much time as I could. When I left the room I left the light on and covered the front of the boxes with towels. What I had done was not time consuming and it would have taken less time if it had been addressed by those who were responsible for the infants’ wellbeing during testing.

It is not uncommon for researchers to conduct business without compassion. I continued doing so for these infants until researchers caught on or until the testing expired. I only know that one day the fearful cries from those particular infants ceased to come from that room.


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Witnessed Animal Abuse
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Cheri Stevens Statement: California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC)
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