16 January 2003
Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250
Every year the United States Department of
Agriculture/Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS)
compiles the Animal Welfare Enforcement Report (AWER) and presents this
report, in your name, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of
the House of Representatives as is required by the Animal Welfare Act
(AWA -- 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq). The AWER for fiscal 2001 became available
to the public on the USDA/APHIS website during November of 2002.
It was immediately apparent that this report,
especially the statistics regarding primate use in experimentation, is
seriously flawed. When the state-by-state totals for primate use in
experimentation are examined and compared with similar totals for fiscal
2000, major questions arose. It was quite apparent that something was
wrong with the reporting process. Either several research facilities had
failed to report (a violation of the AWA) or the statistics promulgated
in the report were compiled in a faulty manner.
I have had several discussions with USDA/APHIS staff,
which led to partial correction of the report. The statistics for
primate use being increased by over 5500. However, several statistics
relevant to primate experimentation still appear to be low (i.e. --
totals for Florida, Puerto Rico & Louisiana). The cumulative error for
these categories could be as high as another 8030 primates. (Please
examine the attached table for relevant statistics.)
I would respectfully request that you initiate an
investigation of this matter, and insure that a corrected report is sent
to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. I would
also request that the corrected report be posted on the USDA/APHIS
website immediately upon completion.
I believe that it is also very important to know why
these crucial statistics were wrong, and why it was not even noticed
until Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! contacted your agency. How could
these important statistics be so far off (potentially as much as 27%)? I
think that we would all like to receive answers to this question.
I would appreciate acknowledgement of this
correspondence at your earliest opportunity.
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN