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University of California, Davis CA

Report: Inside the Laboratories of UC Davis: The Truth About Primate Experimentation
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN
513-575-5517 saen@saenonline.org

Experimentation at the UC Davis / CPRC

Many different types of experimentation are performed at UC Davis/CPRC. It would be impossible to discuss all of these varieties of projects. Therefore this report will focus on the area of neurobiology. Specifically, the studies discussed have been categorized by utilizing the NIH CRISP system. These 10 studies performed at UC Davis (See Appendix A)

The basic procedures, or parts of these procedures, are common to many of the experiments performed at UC Davis in the area of neurobiology. The scientists performing the experiments describe them best:

“The general methods are similar to those used in previous studies and will be described only briefly. Before recording, each monkey was equipped with a head post for restraint, a scleral search coil to monitor eye position, and a recording cylinder implanted over the occipital cortex to allow microelectrode access to area MT from a posterior direction, 20° above horizontal in a parasagittal plane. This equipment was secured to the skull using a dental acrylic implant, and this procedure was performed under deep surgical anesthesia. The monkeys were given at least 2 wk to recover from surgery before recording. For recording experiments, the monkeys were removed from their home cages and seated in a primate chair in front of the cathode ray tube (CRT) screen on which the stimuli were displayed. They were required to fixate within 0.75-1.2° of a small spot projected on the screen; no discrimination was required. Successfully completed fixation trials were rewarded with a drop of water or juice; broken fixations were followed by a brief time-out period.” -- Kenneth H. Britten and William T. Newsome The Journal of Neurophysiology Vol. 80 No. 2 August 1998, pp. 762-770

While this description may not allow the layman to picture this experimentation the photos should provide a technically accurate representation of these protocols.

These photos are not from the UC Davis. However, if they are examined and compared to the description of the protocol from the labs of UC Davis, it is clear that they accurately represent research at Davis. These are macaque monkeys, confined in primate restraint chairs. Bars for further restraint are attached to the skulls of these monkeys, and recording cylinders are attached to the skulls as well.

It is clear to even the casual observer that these animals must experience substantial pain/distress during this experimentation. Confinement to a restraint chair must be stressful for the macaque monkeys used in this category of experiments. Additionally, according to a research protocol obtained from UC Davis through the public records act of California, these animals are also deprived of water for substantial periods of the day. This document also states that these animals are singly housed. Social isolation is substantially stressful to primates, causing 10% of individually housed animals to begin to engage in self injurious behavior. These monkeys are also subjected to multiple survival surgeries as well as behavior modification techniques.

And again, despite confining these animals to restraint chairs, bolting devices to their skulls, depriving them of water, and socially isolating these macaque monkeys – according to officials at UC Davis – these monkeys experienced no pain or distress.

Go on to Conclusion
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University of California, Davis CA
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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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