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

Media Coverage

 

UW's animal care at primate center questioned

By J. J. Jensen
Seattle Times staff reporter
17 Oct 2002

Expressing concerns about potentially negligent animal care, a national organization is calling for an independent investigation of the University of Washington National Primate Research Center.

Michael Budkie, executive director of Cincinnati-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN), said the request for an investigation was sparked by what the group sees as a high incidence of nonexperimental deaths and the disclosure that one dead primate was found to have nearly 15 pieces of a latex glove in its intestinal tract in 2001.

"These animals are dying under mysterious circumstances," Budkie said. "I'd like to see experts in the area of exotic-animal care examine the practices that are commonplace at the UW."

Budkie's request for an investigation was included in a letter to UW President Richard McCormick yesterday. The letter also raised concerns about the qualifications of personnel at the primate center, the level of regular observation and the quality of care animals receive.

In addition to the dead primate found with pieces of latex in its intestinal tract, Budkie pointed out post-mortem records from 2001 of primates that appeared to have died from anesthetic overdose, malnutrition and dehydration. Budkie said he had obtained the UW documents through the Freedom of Information Act.

"These documents raise serious questions regarding animal care, or the lack thereof, at the Washington National Primate Research Center," he said.

If the organization does not hear from McCormick within 10 business days, Budkie said it may try to get a federal agency to investigate.

McCormick could not be reached for comment, but UW Health Sciences and Medical Affairs spokesman L.G. Blanchard disputed SAEN's claims of negligent animal care, saying the center is in "excellent standing" with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.

"Animal-rights extremists are intent on using whatever means, including public-misinformation campaigns, to stop lifesaving biomedical research at the University of Washington and elsewhere," Blanchard said.

The center at the UW is one of eight primate-research centers in the U.S. It is part of the UW's Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center, which houses the schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and public health, University of Washington Medical Center and several other research centers. The primate center touches almost every field of primate biology and medicine, including AIDS-related research and primate models for human diseases.

Blanchard declined to comment on the primate found with latex in its intestinal tract or whether the UW would pursue an investigation.

He said the primate center reports regularly to a number of government agencies and provides numerous opportunities for the public to participate in the work of its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

"The university is required by law to pay very close attention to ensuring the highest standards of animal care and use in all of its programs," Blanchard said. "The university is fully accountable for every major aspect of its animal-care and -use programs."

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