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

Articles and Reports

Forty Years of Fraud:
The Regional Primate Research Center System
An Investigative Report

What types of experiments occur at the primate centers?

The experimentation carried out at these laboratories has many different variations. In general it falls into these categories: primate breeding, infectious diseases, neurology, and psychology. Each of the primate centers has different focuses, but they have many things in common as well.

One issue that is relevant to all of the primate centers is duplication of experimentation. To address this issue it is necessary to look at experimentation in several areas. The areas of experimentation that we will examine are: drug addiction, and visual/brain mapping.

These brands of research are not unique to the primate centers. The CRISP (Computer Retrieved Information on Scientific Projects – a database maintained by the National Institutes of Health) system shows 60 separate grants which involve both cocaine and macaque monkeys. Many of these grants are funded at the primate centers. Addiction experimentation is currently underway at Harvard, Emory, and the University of Washington in Seattle. While the UW has not made addiction a major area of study, both Yerkes (affiliated with Emory) and the New England Regional Primate Research Center (affiliated with Harvard) perform many addiction experiments on primates. Each facility has several grants in this area, with numerous sub-projects. However, it is also important to note that facilities such as the University of Michigan, the Medical College of Virginia, Johns Hopkins, the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and several other labs also study addiction in primates.

The experiments in drug addiction confine primates to restraint chairs. Unfortunately macaque monkeys, baboons, and squirrel monkeys do not willingly ingest drugs like cocaine and PCP. Therefore they must be motivated. This motivation can come in many forms. Food is one common reward. However, if food is to be an effective reward then the animal must be kept hungry. Therefore, the food allotment given to the primate is reduced substantially. One other method of forcing primates to ingest addictive drugs involves subjecting them to electric shock.

The area of vision experimentation is also riddled with duplication. Dozens of laboratories are funded to perform many experiments in this area. This experimentation puts electrodes directly into the brain of an awake primate. Again, the monkey must be coerced into participation in the project. In this instance water is often used as a reward. Therefore the primate is kept thirsty, with water deprivation reaching as much as 23 hours per day. The primate centers are deeply involved in this kind of experimentation with the UW Seattle, Yerkes, Harvard, and Tulane performing these experiments along with other labs like UCLA, Baylor, etc.

Other areas of potential duplication include psychological research (experiments such as maternal deprivation – and many variants of this kind of experiment), reproductive research, HIV, etc. If an experiment can be done on primates it usually is, and repeatedly.

There is another type of duplication that appears to be peculiar to the funding patterns that exist at the Primate Centers. A researcher at a Primate Center will often have an independent grant funding a specific project. This grant will be separate from the large umbrella grant that funds the Primate Center itself. However, a specific sub-grant portion of the Primate Center will also fund the work of this researcher. It appears that these examples may actually be funded twice. For examples of this type of duplication see Appendix A – Examples of Project Duplication.

The work of Chris Kaneko at the University of Washington, Seattle is an example of this peculiar type of research double dipping. Kaneko has an independent grant titled: SACCADIC EYE MOVEMENT STUDIES (grant #5R01EY006558-14). Kaneko’s experimentation is also funded by grant #5P51RR000166-400022 (a sub-grant of the Primate Center grant), which is also titled: SACCADIC EYE MOVEMENT STUDIES. Leonard Howell of Emory University has five separate grants that fund his primate-based addiction research. Three of these grants are independent entities; two are sub-grants of the Yerkes Primate Center grant, which is funneled through Emory. Ned Kalin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison receives no less than eight separate grants that fund his psychological experiments in fear and stress in primates. Four of these are independent grants; four are sub-grants of the Primate Center grant. It is entirely possible that we may be paying for many grants twice.

Specific types of research tend to have definite consequences for the primates used in the experimentation. For example, the University of Wisconsin (Madison) performs several different kinds of experimentation that subject the primates to stress. Severe stress can lead to many different pathologies including conditions that affect the gastro-intestinal tract.

An examination of recent post-mortem reports from 215 primates that died from May of 2000 – August of 2001 reveals significant findings. Diseases such as hepatitis, pneumonia, and amyloidosis were all common. However, the most common pathological conditions affected the gastro-intestinal tract. Enteritis, colitis, and peritonitis affected many of the primates at the UW, Madison. In fact, enteritis/colitis affected 1/3 of all primates that died during this period at the colony. It is quite apparent that these primates are very significantly stressed by the conditions in which they are kept and the experiments that are performed on them. The stressed conditions in which these primates live have had other consequences. For example, 16.7% of the neonatal/infant primates who died at the UW, Madison were victims of cannibalism.

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