Staff and wire reports North County Times 6/15/01
SAN DIEGO ---- An animal rights group said Thursday that the Salk Institute and other institutions are improperly reporting their experiment procedures and abusing animals by denying them food and water.
The group called for a federal investigation into how research animals are treated.
The Cincinnati-based group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, filed a complaint Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, alleging that 50 laboratories nationwide don't fully disclose to government oversight agencies how animals in their tests are treated.
The animal rights group is hosting news conferences in front of many of those laboratories, including a Thursday conference in front of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, said Jane Cartmill, an Encinitas resident and longtime animal rights activist.
Salk officials said Thursday that they follow all federal guidelines and do not withhold information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which monitors federally funded tests that use animal subjects.
"We are in full compliance with all of our federal oversight agencies," said Warren Froelich, director of communications at Salk.
Cartmill, a member of the group and the director of San Diego Animal Advocates, said labs that receive federal funds must disclose to the Department of Agriculture if their tests subject animals to significant pain and stress without anesthesia.
But many labs do not report this because it brings greater scrutiny, she said.
"There's a lot being hidden from us," Cartmill said. "Our tax dollars are paying for those experiments and we deserve to know what's really happening to the animals."
Cartmill said that primates used in experiments at the Salk Institute are restrained for long periods of time with their heads "bolted into immobilization devices" and deprived of water to motivate them to perform visual tasks necessary for experiments.
Cartmill said the Cincinnati-based group studied 50 of the nation's 2,200 research facilities that conduct animal tests, including Salk and UC San Diego. She said the group hopes its study prompts a federal investigation to change how lab animals are treated.
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