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S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe
out animal experimentation"
Animal-rights group calls for UW investigation
by Dylan Lee Lehrke UW Daily
A national animal-rights organization asked UW President Richard McCormick
to commission an independent investigation of potentially negligent animal
care at the Washington Regional Primate Research Center (WaRPRC)
In a letter sent to McCormick and WaRPRC Director Dr. William Morton, the
Cincinnati-based group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) expressed
concerns regarding animal care and observation, qualification and training
of personnel, and general procedures at the primate center. The letter
cited high incidences of non-research-related deaths as the reason for the
According to Michael A. Budkie, executive director of SAEN, “suspicious
causes” of death are recorded throughout UW’s post-mortem records.
“These animals are dying under mysterious circumstances,” said Budkie.
L.G. Blanchard, UW director of Health Sciences News and Community
Relations, said the allegations are totally inconsistent with the primate
center’s excellent standing with the Association for Assessment and
Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.
“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,” said
In the UW diagnostic laboratory necropsy report cited by SAEN,
investigators found that one primate died as a result of ingesting a latex
glove. The necropsy found more than 15 pieces of latex glove inside the
gastrointestinal tract of primate K93464.
SAEN also pointed to three animals that seemed to have had symptoms of
dehydration and malnutrition at the time of death and two animals who died
after being sedated for blood draws. All of the animals cited by SAEN died
within the last two years.
“These documents raise serious questions regarding animal care, or the
lack thereof, at the Washington National Primate Research Center,” said
Although no recent death statistics are available, a SAEN report claims
the UW primate center had a non-experimental death rate of 10.9 percent in
the breeding colony and an experimental death rate of 18.6 percent in
1999. The report listed 391 deaths out of a population of 1,800 primates,
171 of which were non-experimental.
SAEN requested the UW respond to their request for an investigation within
10 business days, or face “more serious action” involving federal and
other government agencies. Neither McCormick nor Morton were available to
comment on whether an independent investigation would be ordered.
However, Blanchard pointed out that the UW already reports to a number of
government agencies and provides opportunities for the public to have
input through the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
“Animal rights extremists are intent on using whatever means, including
public misinformation campaigns, to stop lifesaving biomedical research at
the UW and elsewhere,” said Blanchard.
This is not the first time SAEN has targeted UW’s primate center for
criticism. The group filed a complaint last October with the U.S.
Department of Agriculture against 50 research institutions, including the
UW, claiming researchers were not accurately reporting how much pain and
distress animals endure in experiments.
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