By Jeff Ristine STAFF WRITER San Diego Union Tribune June 15,
By Jeff Ristine STAFF WRITER San Diego Union Tribune June 15, 2001An animal rights group yesterday said the Salk Institute is among 47 major research labs in the United States that have violated disclosure requirements for experiments in which primates or other animals suffer pain or stress.
In a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stop Animal Exploitation Now also said researchers needlessly duplicate each others' experiments on animals.
Jane Cartmill, director of San Diego Animal Advocates, which is allied with the Ohio-based group, said "the majority of laboratories in the U.S. are very probably misrepresenting the nature of their primate (experiments)" by falsely reporting procedures as not painful to the animals.
Those annual reports, Cartmill said, don't square with the researchers' accounts in published journal articles, abstracts and other reports describing brain experiments with immobilized primates and motivational experiments in which animals are made thirsty.
In a brief response, the Salk Institute said: "We are committed to conducting animal studies in a respectful, professional and humane manner."
Without responding directly to the accusations, Salk said all reporting requirements "are scrupulously adhered to." The institute uses animals in research on neural conditions and human disease.
Cartmill spoke outside the institute's campus on Torrey Pines Mesa amid posters depicting primates with electrodes attached to their brains. It was part of a series of events staged by the Ohio group asking for an investigation by the USDA, which regulates federally supported animal research.
Cartmill said San Diego Animal Advocates and Stop Animal Exploitation Now, headed by Michael A. Budkie, object to all experiments with healthy animals.
Budkie's organization said an audit of reports for 1998 of 50 institutions showed that only the University of Michigan, the State University of New York-Buffalo and Virginia Commonwealth University fully disclosed which experiments, surgery or tests involved "pain or distress" to primates and were performed without anesthetics or other pain-killing drugs.
Salk, Harvard, Yale, and several University of California campuses all reported no such work. But Cartmill said journal articles and other filings with the USDA suggest such experiments were done, and were simply reported as experiments in which tests involved no pain or distress or where drugs were used.
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