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"Exposing the truth to wipe
out animal experimentation"
Death, Disease & Insanity: Health and Well-Being of Primates at New England National Primate Research Center/Harvard
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN
Psychological Well-being of NENPRC
In January of 2003 the Division of Behavioral Biology
assessed roughly 360 macaques and squirrel monkeys psychologically. 50 of
the squirrel monkeys were found to be behaviorally abnormal, this accounts
for 83% of the squirrel monkeys at NENPRC. 300 rhesus macaques were listed
as behaviorally abnormal; this is 28% of the rhesus macaques at the
center. Some of the primates in this category exhibited self-biting, or as
many as 3 other abnormal behaviors. These behaviors are often considered
to be the result of either social isolation or stress. Another section of
the report lists that 362 rhesus macaques are individually housed, and
that 321 of these animals exhibited at least one abnormal behavior. For
this group of animals 88.7% exhibited at least one abnormal behavior. This
could mean that a minimum of 371 primates (321 rhesus and 50 squirrel
monkeys) are psychologically abnormal. Or, a minimum of 30% of the rhesus
monkeys and 83% of the squirrel monkeys could be psychologically abnormal.
The colony of 60 squirrel monkeys which are initially listed as being
evaluated for abnormal behavior are a part of the research colony at
NENPRC. The only research projects listed at NENPRC which use squirrel
monkeys involve experimentation with addictive drugs (cocaine and heroin).
Addiction experimentation can involve the use of primate restraint chairs,
the subjecting of the subjects to withdrawal and/or electric shock. The
source of the behavioral abnormalities in this group of primates may be
the type of experimentation in which they are used. Again, the income
generated by these experiments may be put before the welfare of the
However, it appears that the number of animals
exhibiting these psychologically abnormal behaviors may be increasing.
According to the progress report the number of primates assessed with
abnormal behavior increased by 25 (7%) in a six-month period. This
increase in abnormal behaviors could be caused by insufficient
environmental enhancement by NENPRC staff. Or, it is highly possible that
these primates are being deliberately maintained in conditions that
promote abnormal behavior because they form the pool of subjects for
several experiments at NENPRC which depend on the existence of a
population of animals with psychological pathologies. In fact, nine
separate experiments at NENPRC are examining psychologically abnormal
behavior in captive macaque monkeys. It appears that the funding which
this experimentation brings to the research facility may be considered to
be more important than the psychological well-being of these primates.
It must also be noted that these statistics are not
based on assessments of the total primate population within the center,
but on assessments of small segments of the population. The actual
percentage of primates with psychological abnormalities is likely to be
Go on to
Death, Disease & Insanity: Health and Well-Being of Primates at New
England National Primate Research Center/Harvard
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