Addiction to Torture
The Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University (MCV)
is one of many laboratories that use rhesus monkeys in drug addiction
experiments. One of the projects at MCV is among the oldest in the U.S.
dragging on for 30 consecutive years and currently squanders over
$400,000 per year.
According to USDA reports filed by MCV, the rhesus monkeys used in
this experiment suffer from unrelieved pain and distress because they
often experience the throes of drug withdrawal. Yet, this is not the
only agony that they endure.
Internal documents from MCV reveal that these innocent animals
experience such severe stress that they often become self-abusive.
Rhesus monkey M1390 endured a lifetime of suffering at MCV:
“Arrived years ago and from the beginning had difficulty adjusting to
the lab. Throughout the years several attempts were made to address his
behavior problems using enrichment and various experimental protocols.
He would show improvement for a period but would return to bouts of
stereotypic behavior including aggression and self injurious behavior.
Due to recent indications that his behavior had worsened, the PI opted
to remove the animal from study and request euthanasia.”
Many of the primates within this facility are so severely disturbed
that they tear out their own hair. Fur is plucked from arms, legs,
tails, and heads. One monkey was so disturbed that he/she removed all of
the hair from his/her head, resulting in baldness.
Additionally, these animals suffer with surgically implanted
catheters, which they often rip out. Infections are not uncommon.
Jackets are placed on these monkeys in a vain effort to protect the
catheters. This serves only to cause more stress as the monkeys chew and
tear at the jackets in frustration. Some of these rhesus monkeys become
so agitated that they shake and bang on the cages and tear at the
restrictive jackets. Others, seeming to give up, simply lie on the floor
of the cage and clutch their tails.
The brutality of the experiments at MCV is worsened by negligence
which causes even more suffering and death. On Friday, 11/9/07, a
“flood” occurred in the area where the primates are housed. Then on
Monday, 11/12/07, MCV staff discovered that as many as seven of the
primates suffered due to a weekend watering system malfunction. One of
these animals was so dehydrated that intravenous fluids were required.
Another instance of negligence apparently allowed a rhesus monkey to die
of suffocation on December 28th, 2007.