The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has a long history of
cruelty to animals. The most recent annual report for UCSF lists over
2000 animals as being victimized in experimentation, not including rats
and mice. In 2004 SAEN named UCSF the worst laboratory in the nation
with 51 violations of the Animal Welfare Act in a 3 year period.
Furthermore, this facility paid a whopping $92,500 fine in 2005, one of
the largest fines ever levied against a laboratory.
Nevertheless, abusive experiments on primates continue at UCSF,
including the work of Stephen Lisberger who performs one of the most
heinous projects currently funded in the U.S. This experiment cuts
circular holes in the skulls of macaque monkeys and deprives them of
water for as much as 22 consecutive hours.
SAEN has continued to investigate Lisberger’s lab and has discovered
the terrible truth. This “researcher” claims that his experimentation is
not duplicative of other projects. Yet, when the scientific literature
is examined carefully, we discovered that over 1850 publications address
vision research in macaque monkeys, with more than 80 of these
publications focusing on the exact same area of research as Lisberger’s.
Clearly, this research is not unique!
Lisberger’s experiments are no more humane than they are innovative.
In addition to the cruel procedures listed above, we have found the
primates in Lisberger’s projects undergo numerous highly invasive
surgical procedures. Primate mmu30531 had 14 surgeries in the space of
five years. Primate mmu31394 had 7 surgeries in three years. Primate
mmu29678 had 10 surgeries in the space of four years. These unfortunate
animals live through a never-ending stream of pain, suffering, and
Additionally, it is very clear from UCSF records for several of the
primates in Lisberger’s lab that ongoing pathological conditions may
have seriously compromised both their health and the validity of the
research in which they were used. These are primate MMU30531, primate
MMU33059, and primate MMU31314. Records for all of these animals reveal
ongoing bacterial infections lasting as long as eight months.
Scientifically meaningful information does not come from animals with
severe and ongoing illnesses.
Laboratories, such as UCSF, are required by law to file reports with
the USDA annually, and part of this reporting process includes a
requirement for disclosing which animals have experienced unrelieved
pain and/or distress. It is obvious that primates in Lisberger’s lab
suffer terribly every day. And yet, the most recent report filed with
the USDA by UCSF lists only one primate having suffered.
Other primates are also suffering at UCSF. The most recent USDA
inspection report for UCSF lists a violation regarding squirrel monkeys
and water deprivation.
Apparently the protocol in which these animals were used involved
severe restriction of access to water. These monkeys were supposed to
receive roughly 0.4 oz of water per day. But the staff at UCSF
apparently thought that this was too much and provided only 0.25 oz of
water per day.
This laboratory is being allowed to systematically abuse animals and
lie about it to the federal government, claiming that most of these
monkeys don’t experience any pain. If 22 hours of water deprivation,
eight month long bacterial infections, and as many as 14 surgeries in a
space of five years do not constitute unrelieved pain and suffering,
then nothing does.