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.
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
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.
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
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
“. . . 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: