The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center housed
approximately 1500 primates during the reporting period for May 2002 –
April 2003. The majority of these primates are rhesus macaques and the
second largest group is marmosets. The primate center brought roughly
$62,139,601 in funding to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This
funding came primarily from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
WNPRC reported 147 primate deaths to the NIH, but
provided 157 primate necropsy reports as a response to a document
request which asked only for documentation regarding primate deaths at
the WNPRC. The Report filed by the WNPRC with the NIH listed no macaque
births during the reporting period. However, necropsy reports for
primates aged: 1 day (3x), 2 day, 1 week, 2 ˝ weeks, and 1 month (2x)
were provided to SAEN in response to the same document request. Unless
some breeder is in the habit of shipping one day old primates, WNPRC has
filed an inaccurate and misleading report. The progress report also
lists no deaths among infant/juvenile marmosets. However, WNPRC provided
necropsy reports for 40 marmosets in the 1 day – 1 month old category.
It is quite apparent that the primates at the WNPRC
are extremely stressed. 5 of the 157 primates who died during this
period were so severely stressed as to have begun to engage in
self-mutilation. 54.3% of the macaques who died exhibited
gastro-intestinal tract diseases, while 64% of the marmosets exhibited
similar pathological conditions. The marmoset colony had an infant
mortality rate of 58.1%. The Macaque colony apparently had either no
births, or had a 100% infant mortality rate.
The pathological conditions from which primates at the
WNPRC suffered included: lymphoplasmacytic gastritis, lymphocytic
enteritis, encephalitis, meningitis, peritonitis, lymphosarcoma,
hepatitis, etc. 23 primates (rhesus or macaques) were either markedly
thin or cachetic (emaciated) at death. This may indicate that theses
animals were allowed to progress to an unacceptably excessive level of
debilitation as a result of disease.
Several of the more unusual deaths (i.e. encephalitis,
meningitis, etc.) were caused by experimental procedures that opened the
skull and/or attached head caps on the skulls of primates. Some of these
animals had openings in their skulls which left the brain visible. The
severe stress level of the primates at WNPRC can, in many cases, be
attributed to the experimentation in which the animals were used.
Several of these projects deliberately subjected the animals to stress
by engaging in practices such as removing young animals from the care of
their mothers. However, these projects are not large enough to account
for the severely heightened stress levels in the macaques and marmosets
caged at WNPRC. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the
laboratory environment itself is the underlying cause.
The severely elevated stress levels exhibited by the
inmates at the WNPRC are sufficient to have altered their bodily
chemistry such that these animals would respond to situations
differently than would their free-ranging conspecifics. If these animals
would not accurately represent animals of their own species, it cannot
be concluded that data obtained from experimentation on these animals
would have any relevance whatsoever to humans.
In response to this information SAEN is expanding our
investigations to include other large labs across the U.S. The findings
of this report will also be disseminated to legislators on the
appropriate committees within the U.S. House of Representatives ad the