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

The Defender
From Spring 2008 Issue

Animal Abuse at University of California, San Francisco – Spotlight on Stephen Lisberger

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 abuse.

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.

The research of Stephen Lisberger must end. This lab has lied about the experimentation, deprived animals of water, and potentially performed unapproved surgical procedures.

Please contact the USDA to DEMAND immediate action!

Dr. Robert Gibbens, Director
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

[email protected]

Go on to Charles River Labs – Maiming Monkeys and Rabbits
Return to
Spring 2008 Issue

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