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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

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.

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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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