New Iberia Research Center of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette
These are things that I remember, that have stuck with me, saddened me.
There was a study that required the monkeys, (rhesus and cyno's), to wear
white net like jackets. The jackets zipped in the back. This was to prevent
the animal from touching the spot on the back where they received an
injection. The injection was given subcutaneously. It made the area where
the injection was given become inflamed and rise up a bit. The animals were
sedated for this of course. The animals would start to wake up from the
sedation and try to remove the jacket. Still being a bit sedated the animals
would end up getting the jacket stuck on the bottom part of their mouth,
sometimes cutting their gums, because they would raise their head up trying
to remove the jacket from off their mouth. At this point the animals are too
awake for us to assist them.
Year long study
In the beginning this study involved 40 young rhesus monkeys. In was in
an area called "Shiv."
We had to wear protective suits and respirators. The animals were sedated
every day for a year.
They were given 2 or 3 injections a DAY. Some injections were
intravenous, either in the leg or the arm. The monkeys were given a
subcutaneous injection in the back, EVERY DAY. The animals become addicted
to the ketamine (anesthetic). So they were given more and more of the drug.
We got pretty quick with the routine of the study from doing it everyday. So
if the animal wasn't completely sedated, the injections were given quickly
while techs held the animal down. Some animals didn't survive the study.
Some animals were removed.
Animals are sedated and metal, sometimes plastic, collars are fitted
around their neck. They are tightened with a power tool. The animals are
"chair trained." The cage door is lifted a bit and two techs insert "pole
catchers” into the cage. The object is for the pole catcher to hook onto the
collar. The cage door is then completely lifted and the animal is then
walked out of the cage, by force of course. I have seen some animals that
really are trained, but the training did not come easily. The majority of
the animals fight and try to pull away, once they are caught. The techs must
then use force to "train" the animal to walk to the chair and sit down. Once
they are seated, the collar is screwed into the chair, preventing the
animals from moving their heads. The arms are put through holes in the chair
so they can still move but cannot grab the techs. They cannot
flip, turn around, or lie down. There were times when monkeys (rhesus and
cynomolgus) were left in the chairs for hours! The animals have no access to
water during this time in the chair. If they have food, it was given by a
tech. But most studies require "NPO," nothing permitted orally, during the
chair study. The animals are chaired and put back in their cage many times
throughout the day.
I have seen animals with diarrhea for days upon days, but because of the
study are simply given half of a banana and a Pepto-Bismol, and the
Pepto-Bismol never helps. The techs from the veterinary department would
sometimes leave the Pepto-Bismol on the door of the cage. The animal would
reach for it and most times the Pepto-Bismol would fall in their feces to
the tray below.
I remember one chair study that I wasn't present at, but heard about. The
intravenous injection was mixed incorrectly, even though it had been sent by
the client. The monkey in the chair died instantly.
The animals waking up from sedation affected me a lot. I was made to
"recover" most times since I was new. The animals would wake up and stumble
around their cage, hitting their head and mouth on the walls and on the
swing. I had one small African Green monkey stop breathing entirely.
Thankfully, the vet was right outside. He was able to save him. But what if
he hadn't been right outside? I was in a protective area wearing tyvex so I
couldn't just grab the animal and run for help. In protective areas animals
cannot leave until it has been proven that they are not infected with an
airborne disease. Also, I had about 20 something other animals that were
recovering at the same time and needed constant observation. And I had no
phone. What would I have done? This issue has been brought up multiple
times. After the vet revived him, the African Green monkey, I held him as I
walked around the room, until he woke up from sedation.
I'll never forget that little guy. I was sometimes responsible to
"recover" over 30 animals at once. How is that possible??
We did these around the time when I started at ULL. The animal is weighed
and a calculation is done. The maximum amount of blood possible is taken
based on the animals’ weight. Can you imagine already being sedated AND
losing a large quantity of blood at the same time? There were times when the
calculations were done wrong.
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.
welcome your comments and questions