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  

Primate Health Care at UC Davis/CPRC

Statistics filed in reports by the California Primate Research Center with the NIH are not conclusive. The methodology of these statistics does not allow for meaningful interpretation. Therefore, post-mortem records (obtained through public records request to the University of California) for 321 primates who died at the California primate Research Center will be the basis of assessing the health and treatment of the animals at CPRC.

This group of 321 primates died from January of 2001 through September 2001.

49 of these necropsies represented abortions/stillbirths. 21 represented neonatal deaths which were caused by everything from parental neglect to failure to thrive. 195 of the deaths were experimental in nature. 78 of the experimental deaths had little/no diagnostic work done because the animals were killed for tissue harvest. Therefore these 78 deaths will not figure into calculations regarding health matters. 56 adult primates died of non-experimental causes.

For statistical purposes this report will use a sampling of 173 non-infant primates who died of both experimental and non-experimental causes. Many causes of death were listed including: pneumonia, meningitis, encephalitis, colitis, bloat, etc. The most common findings in these documents were: colitis/gastritis/enteritis (63 or 36%), inanition/thin (59 or 34%), dehydration (34 or 19.7%) and parasites (24 or 13.9%). Fully 1/3 of the primate deaths, of either or non-experimental causes involved gastro-intestinal tract disease.

The information would lead to several conclusions. While gastro-intestinal tract disease can have many causes, in captive animals – especially those who are subjected to unnatural conditions and/or experimentation – stress is a common cause. Additionally, 1/3 of these primates were allowed to reach an advanced state of debilitation marked by substantial loss of body mass (inanition/thin) and/or dehydration. Clearly, these animals are being allowed to reach an unacceptable level of deterioration. It is highly likely that these animals received inadequate care. Whatever the cause, at least 46 of the primates at CPRC suffered substantially as a result of their diseases – many of which were experimentally induced. However, according to the staff of UC Davis none of these animals (despite the severely debilitated conditions which were reached by these animals) experienced any pain or distress.

Animal care practices at UC Davis have recently come under fire after the deaths of seven primates due to a malfunctioning heater.

Go on to:  How Much Money is Spent on Primate Experimentation?
See Facility Reports for University of California, Davis CA
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