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Articles and Reports

Letter of Complaint to Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, University of California, Davis, CA


1081-B St. Rt. 28 PMB 280
Milford, Ohio 45150
513-575-5517
www.saenonline.org 

1/15/09

Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef
Mrak Hall, Fifth Floor
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Dr. Vanderhoef,

I am contacting you today regarding animal research conducted at the University of California, Davis. As you may know, I have recently requested that the USDA/APHIS/AC conduct an investigation into the treatment of non-human primates within UC Davis. The reason that I have taken this action is rooted in information contained in documents which I have obtained from UC Davis. These documents include animal care records for the primates within UC Davis facilities. I find that these documents contain shocking information which raises very serious questions about the condition of the primates.

Postmortems for 404 UC Davis primates show 117 diagnoses of colitis, and inanition – a bodily condition resembling starvation – was diagnosed 108 times. Dehydration is noted 91 times. Treatment records for these animals disclose 403 instances of traumatic injuries, including 143 amputations. There were 387 wounds, 221 bites, 70 abrasions, and 40 fractures. Additionally, the clinical records for these animals reveal multiple indications that a very serious problem exists regarding the existence of self-destructive behavior in many of these primates. The findings of your own veterinary staff clearly show that animal care at UC Davis is inadequate at best.

In addition to the issues raised by these documents I am very seriously concerned about UC Davis experiments which involve controversial practices such as the use of restraint chairs, water deprivation, and surgically implanted head restraint bars. These practices and procedures can cause serious problems for the animals involved in them and have been demonstrated to cause problems at other laboratories. At least two UC Davis researchers, Kenneth Britten and Gregg Recanzone, use these procedures. For your information, these procedures have been criticized severely by many veterinarians (including two former UC staff), a colleague of Dr. Jane Goodall, an expert in primatology who is considered an authority on rhesus monkeys, as well as Dr. Martin Stephens of the Humane Society of the United States.

I would also like to raise one other issue, that of the reports filed by UC Davis with the United States Department of Agriculture. Federal Regulations (9CFR2.36) Section 2.36, clearly state:

(7) State the common names and the numbers of animals upon which
teaching, experiments, research, surgery, or tests were conducted
involving accompanying pain or distress to the animals and for which the
use of appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs would
have adversely affected the procedures, results, or interpretation of
the teaching, research, experiments, surgery, or tests. An explanation
of the procedures producing pain or distress in these animals and the
reasons such drugs were not used shall be attached to the annual report;

As you can see from the attached statements of experts in veterinary medicine, ethics, primatology, etc. it is clear that the research of Britten & Recanzone, and any other UC Davis staff that utilize similar procedures, would cause unrelieved pain and distress. In fact, the concept that confining primates to restraint chairs, bolting restraining bars into the bones of the skull, and depriving the same primates of access to water would not cause unrelieved pain and distress is simply ludicrous. I would like to know how the staff of the University of California, Davis could file an annual report (i.e. the 2007 report) and list no animals as having endured unrelieved pain and distress? Additionally, many of the primates at UC Davis are subjected to the simian equivalent of HIV. How is it that these animals are not listed as enduring unrelieved pain and distress? As long as UC Davis continues to experiment on animals, the university has an obligation to report these experiments honestly. This is apparently an obligation that the university has chosen to ignore.

Therefore, in light of UC Davis’s apparent history of inadequate animal care, as well as the highly invasive and controversial procedures performed at within your laboratories, and the apparent filing of fraudulent reports with the federal government, I feel it is necessary for your laboratory to have more than the usual supervision. Therefore, I hereby officially request the ability to perform an inspection of all UC Davis primate research facilities including the California National Primate Research Center, and the Center for Neuroscience including the laboratories of Kenneth Britten and Gregg Recanzone.

In order that this tour can be most effective, I would also request that it should include members of the news media from all TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers.

The checkered history of the University of California (Davis) with regard to violating the Animal Welfare Act, abusing and killing animals through negligence, has stirred controversy and damaged the reputation of your university. One way to take a positive step toward restoring the tarnished reputation of UC Davis would be to open laboratory facilities to outside and independent inspections. I look forward to your response and will expect to hear from you within five days.

With Respect For All Life,


Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN

Attachments:
Statements from:
* Dr. Stephen Kaufman, Medical Research Modernization Committee
* Dr. Martin Stephens, HSUS
* Dr. Nedim Buyukmihci, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis
* Dr. Bruce Max Feldmann (Formerly Laboratory Animal Veterinarian of UC Berkeley)
* Dr. Ardith Eudey, Primatologist
* Dr. Nicholas Dodman
* Marc Bekoff, former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

UC Davis 2007 Annual report, pg1

See: University of California, Davis, Ca

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