Protesters target primate center

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Protesters target primate center

Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 8:30 AM
Updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 3:46 PM
Kurt Eckert, The Hillsboro Argus

Five people were arrested Monday after refusing to move from lying in the street blocking vehicle access to the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro.

About 40 protesters appeared at 8 a.m., alternately shouting animal rights slogans and angrily accusing center employees forced to walk across the human blockade.

The Oregon Health and Science University facility off of Northwest 185th Avenue has used rhesus monkeys for scientific research since the 1960s, which according to protester Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, is tantamount to torture and murder.

Budkie said there is documented proof the animals are literally “being driven insane” by restrictive cages nothing like their natural habitats, comparable to keeping a human in solitary confinement. Other evidence shows monkeys have suffered with untreated medical conditions.

“It’s important to start the campaign now, because every day the animals in this facility are suffering and dying,” Budkie said. “They have no tomorrow.”

Primate center spokesman Jim Newman says that while there has been some human error during the facility’s long history, it is inspected regularly by the Unites States Department of Agriculture, and operates in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.

A USDA animal care expert conducted an unannounced, thorough inspection of the center earlier this month to ensure compliance, he said.

According to a June 15 USDA report, there were “no noncompliant items identified.”
The center also participates in the voluntary accreditation program overseen by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, said center Director Dr. Nancy Hagwood.

“This report and others like at are the direct result of the dedication and hard work of our animal care staff, including veterinarians, animal care technicians and behavioral health experts,” Hagwood said.
Budkie said the protesters want to enter into negotiations with hospital administrators to end spending on primate research and use the funding for clinical and epidemiological studies.

Newman said the center follows the best animal care practices, available online along with its research breakthroughs at

Coincidentally, Holly Drive, the eastern access to the center off 185th, is closed for construction of condominiums on adjacent property.

The protesters lying in the street on Heritage Parkway, the south access, did not create a significant safety hazard, although there had been some complaints about the noise, Hillsboro Police Department Lt. Mike Rouches said. Technically, lying in a public roadway is against the law, he said.

Rouches said with the blessing of OHSU, the protesters would be allowed to stay in the street until about 1 p.m. As long as they stay peaceful and reasonably quiet, they can remain on the public sidewalk as long as they want, he said.

Newman said officials didn’t mind the protests as long as there is no violence. Many people question the ethics of animal research, some writing letters or calling administrators, he said.

“This is more of the extreme approach,” he said.

See Also:
Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR
Five protesters arrested at Oregon National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro - 28 Jun 2010
Police Arrest 5 At Primate Center Protest - 28 Jun 2010
Five arrested in Oregon primate center protest - 28 Jun 2010
5 protesters arrested outside Ore. primate center - 28 Jun 2010
Primate Center Protestors Handcuffed - 28 Jun 2010
Animal right protesters arrested outside OHSU primate center - 28 Jun 2010
28 Jun 2010 - Five arrested after activists block entrance to Oregon research laboratory; facility has killed primates, wasted tax money

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