Early in 2007 SAEN staff decided
to attempt to open lines of communication with representatives of
research facilities on a regular basis. After several unsuccessful
tries to launch discussions with specific labs, we decided to reach out
to a larger section of the “scientific” community by attending a
The annual conference of the
American Society of Primatologists (ASP) was a natural choice.
This conference would have put us in touch with the staff of the largest
primate labs in the U.S., and many of the presentations dealt with
potentially useful topics regarding the psychological health of primates
in laboratory settings. Not too long after SAEN sent the forms
off, we received a response by email, declining our registration.
Despite the initial reaction of
the ASP, Michael Budkie traveled to North Carolina to attempt in-person
dialogue. As Budkie walked into the convention center which housed the
conference and attempted to simply talk to ASP officials, he was met by
security. Later tries at registration met with flat denials by the ASP
Michael Budkie’s attendance at the ASP conference was prevented by the
organization’s hierarchy, we were able to utilize the situation to hold
a news conference revealing the realities of primate experimentation to
local news media. The Winston-Salem Journal produced a
news story which spread across the state of North Carolina educating
millions of people about primate experimentation.