Primate Center Faces Investigation for Deaths
By Maeghan Killeen
From the Daily Cardinal, the student newspaper of the
University of Wisconsin, Madison
November, 5 2003
A non-profit organization recently filed a complaint
against the University of Wisconsin Primate Research Center, claiming
the research performed there is painful and stressful to the primates
and that primate deaths are going unreported.
Michael Budkie, executive director of the
Cincinnati-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said complaints were
filed with the United States Department of Agriculture Oct. 24 against
UW-Madison and Harvard. He said the complaints are a result of an
investigation into progress reports filed by the labs to the National
Institute of Health and the USDA.
"They are not reporting a single primate used for
painful or stressful experiments, but they are experimenting with
stress," Budkie said. "One begins to wonder how gullible they think we
Joseph Kemnitz, director of the UW Primate Research
Center, said the annual reports they file are accurate but that stress
is a very difficult word to define.
"There is certainly no violation of the laws and
regulations," Kemnitz said.
SAEN's report claims 29 primates in Wisconsin in 2000
died and endured substantial suffering due to pneumonia and other such
diseases. Kemnitz said he didn't know of any cases of those diseases.
"We treat sick animals the same way people are
treated," Kemnitz said. "We try very diligently to keep them healthy."
Budkie said he believes the USDA should perform an
in-depth investigation of the research center and suspend the research
protocols being used until the investigation is complete.
Jim Rogers, of the USDA Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service, said the maximum penalty for an Animal Welfare Act
violation is $2,750 per unit, per animal, per day. All complaints
received are reviewed.
"Anybody can send us any information ... and we'll
check it out," Rogers said.
Budkie said UW-Madison students should be concerned
and take action as well.
"We would like the students to get involved with this
because it's their school," Budkie said.
Kemnitz noted Budkie's filed complaints coincide with
National Primate Liberation Week.
"It's an annual event," Kemnitz said. "I think what
he's doing is trying to draw attention to his cause."
SAEN's report, "The Primate Experimentation Scandal,
2003" can be viewed at