Yesterday, representatives of
the animal-rights group
In Defense of Animals held a protest on the main
campus of Oregon Health & Science University to highlight
alleged animal abuse at the university’s
Oregon National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro.
The protest was held as part of
World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week (April
20-26) and is the first of others to take place each day
this week at other area OHSU facilities.
The complaints by IDA
concern what activists claim is underreporting by
researchers of primates’ levels of pain and distress on
tests conducted without the use of analgesics, or pain
relievers, at ONPRC.
Requirements in the Animal
Welfare Act as mandated by U.S. Department of Agriculture
state that research facilities must submit a bi-annual
report including numbers of animals used in research, broken
down by species and three categories of pain and distress.
Among the other seven labs
listed in the U.S., OHSU’s last available reporting from
2006 indicates that the primates used in their research have
had no problems with pain and distress.
“They’re not telling the
truth,” says Matt Rossell (pictured above), Northwest
Outreach Coordinator with IDA. “Of the more than 4,000
monkeys OHSU has, they're reporting zero with pain and
distress. It's not possible.”
Rossell, a former employee
of the ONPRC, is best known for secretly recording photos
and video from the research center that showed disturbing
images of primates apparently being abused at the facility
back in 2000.
Rossell claims some of the
some of the research requires water or food deprivation,
heavy restraints and induction of diseases such as malaria
or immunodeficiency viruses. This, says Rossell, would no
doubt induce pain and distress.
According to OHSU spokesman
Jim Newman, of the three categories OHSU is required to
report to USDA concerning this issue, those listed above do
not qualify as pain and distress because they don’t require
use of analgesics for the primates.
Newman says that IDA is
getting their facts wrong. “It’s common for animal activists
to review our publicly available data, and often their
interpretation is incorrect,” he says, adding that the
reason OHSU reports no pain and distress for the primates is
that “they aren’t doing research on pain.”