Cannibalism, High Death Rates Plague UW
by Derek Montgomery, College Editor
from the Badger-Herald
September 06, 2002
The monkeys are among us. Hidden between the Kohl
Center and Camp Randall lies an inconspicuous series of buildings. There
are no large signs or flashing lights. If one gets close enough to the
building, the words "Wisconsin Primate Research Center" can be seen on
the building's side. However, these monkeys are in serious trouble.
According to a report by Michael A. Budkie, the
University of Wisconsin Primate Research Center is "losing research
subjects in alarming numbers, including infant mortality rates of up to
One in five infant monkey deaths are attributed to
Further, Budkie's report, "Forty Years of Fraud: The
Regional Primate Research Center System," claims four decades of
research and billions of dollars in spending have failed to deliver any
substantial discoveries for human health.
The Wisconsin Center has laid claim to paving the way
for breakthroughs in culturing embryonic stem cells in humans in 1999.
The center's website said the 1999 discovery "brings us closer to the
possibility that researchers may someday be able to genetically engineer
embryonic stem cells for transplanting in diseased human tissues."
But Rick Fogle, founder for the Primate Freedom
Project, said any claim from the Wisconsin Primate Research Center is
likely to be a lie.
"Madison has such a long dismal history of not being
forthcoming with the public," Fogle said. "The history of lies is
unprecedented. Any claim is likely to be an out-and-out lie."
Fogle noted a situation years ago in which researchers
at the center took monkeys from Vilas Zoo, experimented on them and
sometimes sold them to other research centers. The university and Dane
County got involved, and eventually the monkeys were sent to another
institution. The university was in an apparent breach of contract with
the Vilas Zoo when they performed harmful research on the monkeys.
Fogle said the research coming out of the Wisconsin
Primate Research Center is baseless. He attributes this to researcher's
lack of knowledge of the marmoset monkey and an incorrect diet.
"The marmoset death rate at Madison and other research
centers is exceptionally high," Fogle said. "The truth is [scientists]
know less about marmosets than they do humans. It basically nulls the
results of any experiment."
Employees of the Oregon Regional Primate Research
Center have quit, citing inhumane living conditions for the primates.
One of those individuals is Matt Rossell, who talked about one monkey
named Erik, a capuchin, who lived alone in a two-by-two cage for 33
Proponents of primate research in the Madison area
said a monkey named Azalea displayed the value of a research center like
the one in Madison.
The monkey was born with a condition similar to Down's
syndrome in humans. Azalea could not perform normal monkey activities,
and her primate peers came to her assistance by grooming and aiding in
everyday activities. It revealed an intense intimacy in primate family
"Every scientist on campus cares about the welfare of
animals, or their research wouldn't be legitimate," Mark Cook, chairman
of the Animal Care and Use Protocol Review Committee, said. "There is a
huge, redundant layer of groups and committees making sure people are
complying with protocol."