Primate Experimentation in the US:
The Facts We Weren’t Supposed to Know

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Primate Experimentation in the US: The Facts We Weren’t Supposed to Know
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.
513-575-5517 saen@saenonline.org  

Emory University

USDA inspection reports dated 3/18/03 discuss violations in the areas of IACUCs for improper internal inspections, and Housing facilities for non-human primates. A report from 8/23/02 discusses the death of Rhesus monkey #3566 on 4/16/02. Apparently this primate had been steadily declining since 6/01 – losing 32% of his/her body weight in this 14-month period. This primate had received multiple MPTP treatments over a 6-month period. The primate received treatment for clinical problems on 3/16 and 3/31. Health concerns were again raised on 4/14. However, the researchers did not observe the primate on this day, and were unavailable for contact from the veterinary staff. Husbandry staff didn’t report the animal’s anorexic condition until 4/15 – when the animal was found with no evident heartbeat or respiration, and hypothermia. The primate was revived, but was found dead the next morning.

Another incident at Emory described in the USDA report involves an “. . . anorexic, barely mobile, syringe-fed monkey that had been living in a sleep study cubicle for ‘several days’ following multiple, systemic MPTP injections.”

The USDA inspector concludes the report with this comment: “Recent incidents described herein demonstrate (a) lack (of) timely communications between investigators/husbandry staff and the attending veterinarian, one of which resulted in an animal death.”

Other inspection reports (from 3/30/00) list deficiencies in space requirements, environmental enrichment, and veterinary care. In relation to the Environmental enrichment violations the inspector makes an interesting statement: “. . . although a significant percentage of the macaques at the Yerkes Field Station are partially or entirely bald, this condition has not been noted as not normal, accessed for the extent of the condition, nor possible reasons or solutions investigated. The baldness appears to be due to overgrooming, and may indicate a need for the opportunity to express other normal behaviors (climbing, exploring) more frequently.”

The care of primates at Emory University is particularly important because Emory is the home of the Yerkes Primate Research Center, which handles over 3000 primates per year.

Go on to:  Wake Forest University
See Facility Reports for Emery University, Atlanta, GA
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