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

The Defender
From the Spring 2007 Issue

Dogs and Primates – Life and Death in Labs Across the U.S.

Animal experimentation is one of the issues that has galvanized the animal rights movement from its inception. Most people find the reality of what happens on a daily basis in research facilities so upsetting that they turn a deaf ear to the truth. The researchers are counting on the continued ignorance of the public for their very existence.

The general public usually sees a highly censored version of animal experimentation. We are led to believe that the animals are given the utmost in care and consideration. This is anything but true. The information contained in this article is taken from United States Department of Agriculture inspection reports for the first nine months of 2005.

The true picture of life in a laboratory is filled with unpleasant images. Over 120,000 primates and over 100,000 dogs (including labs and animal dealers) are used in experiments every year.

Our experience of these animals shows us that they feel pain, isolation, and stress much as we do. As you read the rest of this article imagine yourself experiencing the procedures which discuss primates. Imagine a dog that you know well suffering just as the dogs in this article suffered.

Two dogs at the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham (AL) were starved for a period of two weeks in 2005. During this time one of the dogs lost 38% of his/her body weight, the other 24%. This would be like a 150 pound person losing 57 and 36 pounds, respectively, in two weeks.

At the Covance laboratory in Pennsylvania, food restrictive devices are implanted in dogs and pigs. One dog lost over 30% of his/her body weight over a period of slightly more than two months. No veterinary care was given to this dog, and this facility apparently did not even consider this situation to have been one which would cause pain or distress.

The Covance laboratory in Vienna, VA treats animals no better, often denying them veterinary care, even for broken bones. Animal I-57607 was allowed to suffer for five days with an infected, draining lesion, even though the veterinarian for this facility had recommended euthanasia. Animal I-57739 was allowed to suffer with a broken leg for 3 days without any veterinary treatment. Animal I-56620 was diagnosed with a laceration severe enough that the veterinarian prescribed 5 days of antibiotics, but the drugs were never administered.

On 2/9/05 the attending veterinarian recommended euthanasia for animal I-56999 because of a severe skin condition which included necrosis of the tail. On 2/11/05 a board certified dermatologist examined the animal, again recommending euthanasia. However, euthanasia was delayed until 2/15/05.

This animal was allowed to suffer for six additional days after the veterinarian initially suggested a humane death. Other animals within this facility are listed as exhibiting stereotypical behavior such as hair loss from “self-trauma.” In their extreme stress and isolation some of these unfortunate animals are actually listed as attempting to groom the cage which imprisons them because of total social isolation.
In some instances brutality comes not from experiments, but simply from the way in which animals are housed. At Charles River Laboratories in Wilmington, MA, 48 dogs are housed in a room with enclosures which use something called either “hog flooring” or “tenderfoot flooring.” This material consists of “expanded wire covered with rubber or hard plastic” and is very painful for the dogs to walk or stand on resulting in injuries. The USDA inspection report for this facility states:

“many of the animals in room 505 had interdigital lesions consisting of redness, swelling, and fluid drainage. Eight out of ten observed had varying degrees of these lesions – one dog had only a slight swelling on one front limb, while #40006453 had all four paws affected with a mucopurulent material draining from a enlarged lesion on the left rear paw.”

Some of the most recent information about the life of primates in laboratories is no less shocking. Facilities across the United States are subjecting primates to abuses which simply boggle the mind.

In the period surrounding December of 2004, a monkey named Clark was imprisoned at Montana State University. During this period, Clark was deprived of adequate access to water a number of times. This situation is not unique. During June of 2005 a primate known only as #607923 lost over 11% of his/her body weight while being deprived of water during experimentation at the University of Chicago. This is similar to a 150 lb human losing 16.5 pounds in weight from dehydration. A primate was negligently killed at Vanderbilt after the water supply was shut off during renovations.

Several other research facilities, including MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital, were also cited for use of water restriction as a part of projects involving primates. However, Massachusetts General had other issues as well. USDA records demonstrate that primates are not given post-surgical pain killers and that the anesthesia for primates is not effectively monitored during surgical procedures. This same facility is also cited for allowing pigs to suffer for an extended period with terminal renal failure. One pig is described as
“. . . thin, weak, and depressed.”

Boston University was also cited by the USDA for many abuses of primates, racking up eleven violations of federal law in nine months. Infractions at this facility included isolating primates in “sleep chambers” for long periods, inadequate monitoring of anesthesia during neurosurgical procedures (imagine waking up to realize that the top of your skull has been cut open), and allowing primates to suffer with severe periodontal disease for over a year.

Other facilities are known to have committed many similarly serious abuses. In June of 2005 animal care technicians at Emory University were observed by a USDA inspector while doing routine blood draws from rhesus monkeys that were confined in restraint chairs. These basic procedures resulted in multiple violations of federal regulations because: “The forearms/hands and lower legs/feet of each animal were secured to the frame of the chair with duct tape.”

SAEN has exposed these horrendous conditions through news conferences and press releases across the country. Media outlets in San Jose (CA) and Atlanta (GA) have published our findings. The Medical Research Law & Policy Report also covered the story.

To learn more about this, check out SAEN’s report: Breaking the Law II, Animal Care in U.S. Labs: Government Sanctioned Negligence in the Articles and Reports section of our website: www.saenonline.org.

Go on to WLALW 2006 – Fighting for Animals Across the U.S.
Return to
Spring 2007 Issue
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