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

The Defender
From the Summer 2007 Issue

From the Desk of Michael Budkie, SAEN’s Executive Director

Animal experimentation is a complex issue which involves many factors.  Money, fear, and both individual and institutional prestige are at the very heart of the status quo which prop up animal laboratories.  These things support the slaughter of millions of animals for allegedly scientific reasons – but they are not the true foundation of this archaic practice.  The foundation, the basis, the very cornerstone of animal experimentation is ignorance.  Despite federal reporting requirements and the work of dozens of animal groups to bring out the truth, most people actually know very little about animal experimentation.

How many animals are in laboratories?  No one knows for sure, but one thing is certain – the USDA does not want the American people to have the whole picture.  Why else would this agency consistently under-report the numbers of dogs, cats, and non-human primates in laboratories – often by as much as 50%?  Why would the USDA Animal Welfare Enforcement Report for 2005 list only 440 primates inside South Carolina labs, when a single facility in that state actually holds over 5000 monkeys?  Why are roughly 2200 monkeys listed for the entire state of Louisiana when two labs within this state report housing over 12,000 primates?  Why would the USDA, while compiling an annual report that discusses violations of the Animal Welfare Act, neglect to mention that for sections of this law that are relevant only to labs – violations have increased by 90% in a 5-year period?  Why are laboratories allowed to deprive primates of water, confine them to restraint chairs, bolt devices to their skulls, and still be permitted by the USDA to report that these animals do not feel any pain or distress?

The only conclusion we can draw is that the USDA is actively disinterested in telling the truth, and as long as this agency is allowed to perpetuate these myths, animal experimentation will never change.  If the sole federal entity that regulates laboratories says that only a bit over 7% of all animals in labs actually experience any pain or distress, then the public will continue to believe that nothing is wrong.  If the public is told that the cages are clean, the animals are pampered, and science is being served, then why should they have any questions or doubts of any kind?

The truth is that some of our most prestigious colleges and universities are also our most criminal laboratories.  The truth is that animals have become pawns in a multi-billion dollar game whose true goal is institutional and personal wealth.  

It is up to all of us to continue to bring the hard facts out from their hiding places.  We must continue to be witnesses to the reality of what is concealed behind the laboratory door.  No need to exaggerate -- the truth is shocking enough.  

While many of our efforts to expose and end animal abuse in laboratories deal with experimental procedures and other issues like inadequate veterinary care, the essential dishonesty of most laboratories in the way that they report animal experimentation must also be emphasized. Laboratories must not be allowed to continue to claim that highly invasive procedures do not cause pain or distress, even though they result in sepsis, tissue necrosis, severe confinement, and nutritional and/or social deprivation.  This essential dishonesty denies the very nature of the animals involved in the procedures. 

Before animal experimentation can be ended, we must, as a society, open our eyes wide enough to truly see the nature of how animals suffer inside research facilities.  This suffering not only makes animal experimentation morally reprehensible, but potentially scientifically invalid as well. 

The basis of all that we do at SAEN is the truth, because the truth is a very powerful weapon.  One of our goals is to force both individual laboratories and federal regulatory agencies to make that first vitally important step of actually telling the truth about animal experimentation. In the end this vital truth will bring freedom to all animals that are imprisoned in laboratories.

Go on to Criminal Labs across the U.S. -- SAEN Declares Nationwide Scandal
Return to
Summer 2007 Issue
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