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

Media Coverage

 

The Oregonian News
Activists say primate center wastes money, monkeys on repeat studies
04/27/02
BRYAN DENSON

HILLSBORO -- Animal-rights activists have tried with little success to convince the public that monkeys are mistreated at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, so they are taking a new tack to end animal experimentation: They are appealing to your wallet.

A cadre of activists rallied outside the Hillsboro campus Friday carrying a report that suggests federally funded animal experiments have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars with redundant investigations.

Primate center officials said the duplication of research is a crucial part of the scientific method.

Activists carried a report by Ohio animal-rights worker Michael Budkie, who spent more than six months analyzing a database of experiment summaries kept by the National Institutes of Health.

Budkie's report says that federally funded animal experimentation increased more than 37 percent over the past 10 years, including a dramatic increase in the number of experiments that use primates, including chimpanzees. The report says, for instance, that the NIH now funds 450 studies on cocaine, using rats, mice and macaque monkeys.

"This comes at a time when human beings sometimes can't get treatment in substance abuse programs because of a lack of federal funding," said Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. "When we see hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted on making drug addicts of rats, mice and monkeys, there's something wrong with this picture."

Lisa Godwin, a spokeswoman for the primate center, said the addiction studies cited by Budkie likely were similar experiments in the same field.

The NIH offered no formal comment on Budkie's findings. However, spokesman Don Ralbovsky said scientists often duplicate experiments to make sure
their initial assertions are correct.

Added Godwin, "You don't want one guy sitting in a laboratory with one mouse and one microscope trying to discover the cure for cancer."

Animal-rights activist Elaine Close said that two researchers at the primate center, competitors in the historic race to clone monkeys, had duplicated experiments because "egos and careerism" prevented them from collaborating.

Senior scientist Don Wolf acknowledged in interviews with The Oregonian last year that research was delayed by the duplication of efforts. But colleagues have noted that a healthy competition, despite the occasional duplication of efforts, can speed up scientific discovery.

"The issue here is science, not personalities," Godwin said. "Good science depends on a very slow, careful, methodical process. And sometimes that process involves animals that are needed to help cure diseases."

You can reach Bryan Denson at 503-294-7614 or by e-mail at
bryandenson@news.oregonian.com.
www.oregonian.com
 

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