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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.

Pain in Primate Experimentation

The Animal Welfare Act requires that laboratories file annual reports with the United States Department of Agriculture which list how many animals are used in experimentation and also the level of pain that these animals experience. One of the most controversial areas is the reporting of projects that involve unrelieved pain and/or distress in experimentation. The reporting of this kind of experimentation is inconsistent and clearly questionable.

Earlier in this report neurological experimentation was discussed in some depth, including listing the procedures which are generally part of this area of experimentation including the surgical attachment of devices including restraining bars and recording cylinders to the heads of primates, confinement in restraint chairs, and severely limiting access to water. One of the most puzzling aspects of this area of experimentation is that it is typically not considered to cause unrelieved pain and/or distress for the animals used in this experimentation. Despite the widespread nature of this experimentation, it is virtually never reported as causing unrelieved pain and/or distress. If any additional reporting is done, some of the procedures are listed in areas for exceptions to standard care. Statements regarding this variety of research and the potential for causing pain and or distress in primates, made by veterinarians, primatologists, etc. are posted at: http://www.all-creatures.org/saen/grants-gov.html .

Another example of the inconsistencies in this area of reporting are relevant to the use of primates in drug addiction experimentation. In some varieties of this experimentation primates are forced to experience spontaneous withdrawal from addiction to powerful drugs, such as morphine. One laboratory that performs this variety of experimentation is the Medical College of Virginia, and in 2007 (see  Appendix B) this lab reported 21 primates as experiencing unrelieved pain due to precipitated drug withdrawal. However, not all laboratories report drug withdrawal as causing pain/distress. Johns Hopkins University, according to information contained in research publications (excerpts of which are attached to this report in Appendix C) subject primates to virtually identical withdrawal syndromes, and yet do not report this as causing pain/distress.

These areas hint at what is likely a much larger problem. Many other areas of experimentation have the potential to cause serious pain and distress in primates, but this is not acknowledged. For example, many primates are used in projects involving infectious diseases, such as simian immuno-deficiency virus. Since this disease parallels aids in humans, it has the potential to cause very serious consequences for the animals. However, labs which conduct this kind of research such as the University of Wisconsin, often do not report these projects as causing pain. The research protocol itself states:

“Infection with SIV or related viruses results in the development of immuno-deficiency disease. Thus, over a period o time the animals are expected to have fever, weight loss, periods of diarrhea, rash, decreased physical activity and possibly pain.”

And yet, this is not reported as causing unrelieved pain/distress even though the primates receive no pain relievers.

Taken together, this information can only lead us to believe that pain in primate experimentation is drastically under-reported. The information promulgated by the USDA on this topic is extremely flawed.

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