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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

USDA reviews complaint alleging Wis. lab mistreated monkeys

Associated Press Writer
Jun 27, 1:15 PM EDT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Federal regulators are reviewing a complaint by a watchdog group accusing University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists of mistreating primates who died after experimentation.

Necropsy reports obtained by Stop Animal Exploitation Now show a 4-year-old macaque monkey that died in 2005 had an unspecified foreign object lodged in its intestinal tract.

A 14-year-old female rhesus monkey also died that year after a tube inserted for a surgery severely injured the monkey's throat, reports show. Another female rhesus died of a bacterial infection after giving birth.

Other reports show primates died with severe damage to their skin and brains as a result of studies in which they had experimental devices implanted in their spinal cords or heads.

In a complaint filed Monday with the United States Department of Agriculture, the watchdog group alleges the documents show the university is violating the Animal Welfare Act. The act requires daily observation of the animals' health and proper veterinary care, among other things.

The Milford, Ohio-based group also accused the university of failing to list these animals in an annual report to the USDA disclosing the use of primates in potentially painful experiments.

"It is clear that the documentation for the animals listed above indicated a widespread pattern of negligence, inadequate veterinary care, and deceitful reporting of experimental procedures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison," the group's executive director, Michael Budkie, wrote to the USDA on Monday.

USDA official Elizabeth Goldentyre responded Wednesday that its investigators would look into the situation.

"Please be assured that we will look into your concerns and take appropriate action if necessary," she wrote.

University officials did not immediately return phone messages Wednesday.

UW-Madison runs one of eight federally funded National Primate Research Centers, which house hundreds of primates used in research. The goal is to discover treatments and cures for human ailments such as Parkinson's Disease, HIV and glaucoma.

The university insists the primates are treated humanely and research projects comply with federal guidelines and policies. Still, the center has long been a target of animal rights groups who want to shut such work down.

The Primate Freedom Project plans to build a museum next door to the center to protest the research it considers cruel. The project, strongly opposed by the university, is currently tied up in court.

That group released internal university records in 2005 detailing a study by a pediatrics professor that led to an unusual number of deaths and illnesses in rhesus monkeys in 2001 and 2002.

In one instance, a monkey died while an attendant went out to lunch during an experiment.

The study, which involved research on monkeys' brains, was outlawed, and the professor was suspended for two years from doing animal research.

� 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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