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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Articles and Reports

The Reality of Primate Experimentation in the United States:
Lies, Greed, and Insanity

By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.

Violations of Federal Law Relevant to Experiments involving non-human Primates

Animal research is governed by only one law, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This law is enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture. In order that some idea of the effectiveness of the enforcement of this law regarding primates, and thereby through inference regarding other species of animals, a Freedom of Information Act request has been filed with the United States Department of Agriculture for inspection reports for research facilities in the U.S. This request was filed in 2006 but the totality of the documents have still not been provided.

Additionally, our ability to assess the frequency with which non-human primates are subjected to illegal practices has been hampered by the fact that the USDA often redacts the species names from inspection reports as part of the FOIA process. In other instances, USDA inspectors often list the regulations violated at a laboratory, and information about the incident that led to the violation, without providing the relevant species of animal. The result of this situation is that the occurrence of AWA violations relevant to primates is certainly much higher than can be demonstrated due to the vague nature of the documentation, or due to document redaction.

One relevant example of this phenomenon is relevant to the Motac Cognition laboratory in Cherry Hill New Jersey amassed 9 violations of the AWA during a period of just over a year. The relevant inspection reports disclose illegal activities such as depriving animals of food. However, no species are listed. We can only be sure that these violations are relevant to primates because the 2007 animal use report filed by Motac Cognition lists only primates as being used at the facility. Therefore, the 9 violations are relevant to the 16 primates that the facility holds.

It is not uncommon for the negligence of laboratories to either take the lives of non-human primates, or to cause serious suffering and/or injuries to these animals. A Decemer 2007 USDA inspection report for the University of Wisconsin, Madison discloses that a monkey died due to lack of veterinary care, after suffering with health problems for over a year. An April 2007 inspection report for the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (San Antonio, TX) discloses an incident where the dissection of a baboon began before the animal had been euthanized, the USDA issued only an official warning—no fine was paid. A May, 2006 report for the University of Texas (San Antonio) disclosed that a baboon had died after receiving inadequate post-surgical monitoring and treatment. In July of 2006 Emory University was cited in the death of a primate whose demise was caused by improperly assembled anesthetic equipment. In May of 2007 Franklin & Marshall University is cited for injury to an infant capuchin monkey caused by improperly housing him and his mother with other monkeys. According to a 2008 story by the Everett Herald, a monkey was killed at the SNBL facility in Everett (WA) when the animal was sent through a cagewashing system, the USDA took no punitive action. According to a 2008 Associated Press story, 32 non-human primates died at Charles River Laboratories in Reno, NV when a heating malfunction subjected them to excessively high temperatures (no action was taken by the USDA).

Information from multiple sources reveal that non-human primates have suffered pain and major injuries as a result of negligence. In January of 2007 the Smith-Kettlewell Institute of San Francisco was cited for performing unapproved surgical procedures on a primate that left screws in the animal’s face and head. In December of 2006 Vanderbilt University is cited for performing a durascrape (scraping of the membrane surrounding the brain) on a primate without anesthesia. In March of 2007 Charles River laboratories (facility in NV) is cited for improperly handling and transporting primates resulting in so severely that finger injuries occurred which required amputations of the primates’ fingers. Internal documents leaked from the Alpha Genesis Corporation reveal that many primates at this facility suffer from traumatic injuries and are missing digits.

In August of 2006 the University of California (San Francisco) is cited for depriving primates of water. In August of 2007 Duke University was also cited for depriving primates of water. In April of 2006, Princeton University is also cited for depriving an animal of water. In April of 2007 Cornell University (NY) is cited for depriving 6 primates of water. In July of 2007 Massachusetts General Hospital is cited for inadequately monitoring primates whose access to water is restricted.

As has been previously stated, regulations for environmental enhancement for primates to prevent abnormal behavior have been instituted. Yeshiva University (NY), Yale, University of South Florida (Tampa), University of Pittsburgh, State University of New York (Brooklyn), Motac Cognition, Charles River Laboratories, Bucknell College, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals were all cited for violations of environmental enhancement provisions leading to abnormal behavior in primates from hair pulling to circling and other stereotypical behaviors.

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