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

The Defender
From Fall 2008 Issue

Exposing the Lies of the University of Wisconsin

While animal experimentation is controversial, the concept that animals experience pain during experimentation should be no surprise to anyone. In fact, the invasive or painful nature of the experimentation is often used as a justification for using animals, such as primates, instead of performing similar research with humans.

Both individual researchers and research facilities as a whole don’t want to admit that the experimentation they perform on animals causes pain. However, if the pain of experimentation is denied, then it cannot be relieved. In other words, if laboratories don’t admit that experimentation causes pain and/or distress to the animals they are using, then they are relieved of the responsibility of eliminating that pain or distress.

The Animal Welfare Act addresses pain in experimentation in several ways. Experiments are classified as either not causing pain, causing pain with anesthesia, or causing pain/distress without the use of pain relief. The last of these categories is the most controversial and comes with substantial additional reporting requirements.

The USDA publishes a document titled the Animal Welfare Enforcement Report, and part of the purpose of this report is to categorize all experiments performed on animals according to pain categories. These statistics are totaled on both state and national levels.

For the five year period from 2002 to 2006, 23,570 primates were used in experimentation in Wisconsin, but according to USDA reporting not one of these primates experienced any unrelieved pain. Clearly, this flies in the face of all logic. One of the main laboratories that experiment on primates within Wisconsin is the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and the affiliated Wisconsin Primate Research Center.

What happens to primates at the University of Wisconsin? They are confined to restraint chairs for extended periods of time as much as 4 hours. They are deprived of water for as much as 16 hours per day, 5 days per week. Various devices are bolted to their skulls, and all of this is from only one protocol.

Another protocol, which supposedly tests the ability of a drug to relieve pain at different dosage levels (which implies that at some level the primates will feel pain), places the tails of rhesus monkeys into water as hot as 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, another project subjects monkeys to temperatures up to 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit over large portions of their bodies.

Many other studies at the University of Wisconsin subject macaque monkeys to SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) infection. This is the non-human primate version of AIDS. Part of this study can involve electro-ejaculation, as well as chair restraint. The research protocol itself states:

“Infection with SIV or related viruses results in the development of immunodeficiency disease. Thus, over a period of time, the animals are expected to have fever, weight loss, periods of diarrhea, rash, decreased physical activity and possibly pain.”

When we take into account all of the projects underway at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), it is hard to believe that none of these primates experienced any unrelieved discomfort of any kind.

Experts in the fields of veterinary medicine, primatology, bioethics, and ethology have made statements that are roundly critical of laboratories that utilize these procedures without depicting them honestly in terms of the level of pain and distress that they cause.

“Experiments that utilize these procedures are unethical. Severe restraint or confinement … involving restraint chairs, is one of the most stressful things that can be done to a primate. (The) situation is exacerbated when the motion of a primate is further limited by the use of surgically implanted restraining bars.” - Dr. Bruce Max Feldmann, former UC Berkeley Lab Veterinarian

Withholding water . . . in order that the monkeys are motivated to work for fluid reward is unconscionable.” - Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Director, Tufts University Animal Behavior Clinic

“To isolate and subject monkeys to restraint, such as restraint chair confinement, for any period of time or to deprive them of water (or food) for extended periods of time . . . would be extremely stressful and unethical in my opinion and might well invalidate the results of tests conducted with or on them. In a wild (natural) population of macaques, members of the social group would attempt to help a monkey remove any foreign object, be it animate or inanimate, from its head. To limit or further limit the motion of a monkey by surgically implanting restraining bars in its skull I would think would subject the monkey to extreme stress and discomfort.” - Ardith Eudey, PhD. Primatologist

Two Wisconsin facilities – a Covance lab (which performs everything from drug testing to consumer product testing) and the University of Wisconsin (Madison) -- together account for the vast majority of the more than 23,000 primates experimented on in the last five years in Wisconsin. It is astronomically unlikely that not one of these 23,000 primates used in either of these laboratories in the last five years experienced any pain or distress. Someone is LYING.

While the dishonesty of these laboratories may not be surprising, it is simply amazing that the Animal Care Division of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (part of the USDA) allows laboratories across this nation to claim that experiments of this nature do not lead to unrelieved pain/distress for the primates used in these projects.

This is not simply a paperwork issue. Denying that primates feel pain and distress in experimentation denies their very nature as sentient beings with central nervous systems very much like our own. Additionally, denial of pain in experimentation short-circuits the need for a search for alternative methods.

In 2003 the UW claimed that university policy would be altered with regard to painful experiments. No surprise, nothing has changed. The primary policy of the UW regarding pain in experimentation seems to be dishonesty.

Most importantly, denying the pain of experimentation gives the public the impression that all is right with animal laboratories. The American people have been led to believe that animal labs are well regulated and that laws protect non-human research subjects from abuse.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Please write to these officials within the USDA to demand that they begin enforcing all regulations regarding the use of non-human primates in experiments involving unrelieved pain and distress.

Ed Schafer
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Dr. Chester A. Gipson
4700 River Rd, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234

Return to
Fall 2008 Issue

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