UC Davis Primate Incarceration Reaches All-Time HIGH
In 2007 the University of California, Davis (UCD) passed the
milestone of imprisoning and/or experimenting on over 7600 non-human
primates in one year. The majority of these monkeys are rhesus macaques,
crab-eating macaques, and titi monkeys. It is almost impossible to
visually conceptualize a group of over 7000 primates – let alone a
facility capable of adequately holding this many animals.
The inadequacy of our ability to conceptualize a facility of this nature
is surpassed only by the level to which UCD must be inadequate to meet
the needs of the more than 7600 primates incarcerated there. In their
natural habitat rhesus monkeys are known to traverse as much as one
square mile of territory every day. Even if some of these primates have
overlapping territory, to provide 7000 primates with some level of
adequate space, the University of California, Davis would require
several thousand square miles of land, placing it somewhere between the
states of Delaware and Connecticut in size.
Instead of a square mile of territory per primate, the USDA and labs
like UCD have decided that a monkey is just fine with approximately nine
square feet of living space. The results of this kind of severe
confinement are totally predictable -- stress, disease, and
psychological abnormality. The lives of over 7000 primates cannot be
thought about in any systematic way -- just too much information exists
to be handled or examined meaningfully. Instead, SAEN has examined a
small part of this group of primates. During 2007 and early 2008
approximately 400 primates died at UC Davis. The lives of these monkeys
are documented in about 2000 pages of clinical records and post-mortem
reports with no photos, no names, only numbers. Lives that should have
included running, playing, raising offspring, etc. have been reduced to
nothing more than a few pages of medical terminology for each.
Even though many of the monkeys inside UC Davis have had lives which
spanned decades of incarceration, their years are summed up in only a
few sheets of paper. They spent years being shuffled from cage to cage
First, they were robbed of their freedom. Then, they lost anything that
resembled a natural life. Lastly, they often lost their minds.
Primate #27432 was about 14½ years old when he died in November of 2007.
His death is summarized: “The cutaneous lesions were consistent with
clinical diagnosis of self trauma.” Primate #30805 died in January of
2008. In January of 2003, a finger was amputated and a second finger was
amputated just a few months later. Surprisingly, during the next 5 years
no other injuries or treatments are mentioned, and yet the necropsy
report states: “The animal is presented in good flesh with severe
traumatic injuries (self-inflicted) on all limbs.”
The statements of death for other primates at UCD sound like a litany of
madness. The necropsy report for primate 33659 states: “The animal is
presented in good flesh with multiple, mostly healed or healing cutaneous lacerations (self trauma).” The post-mortem record for primate
“There are multiple (self-inflicted) cutaneous abrasions/lacerations
(self-trauma).” The necropsy for primate 35103 continues the insanity:
“The animal is presented in good flesh with multiple, self-inflicted, cutaneous wounds on arms and legs (self-mutilation).” The death document
for primate 35927 states: “The animal is presented thin with multiple cutaneous abrasions/lacerations (self-injurious behavior).” And the last
word on primate 27257 is no less shocking: “The animal is presented in
good flesh with severe musculocutaneous trauma to the right arm and the
right side of the face. Body as a whole traumatic abnormality (bite
Primate #32104 was born on March 10th, 2000. He lives for 7¼ years,
undergoing over 30 cage moves. In August of 2002, one of his fingers is
bitten severely enough to require stitches. In October of 2002, one of
his toes is amputated after being bitten. In November of 2002, he
suffers from multiple bite wounds to both a finger and his tail which
result in amputations. In May of 2003, his tail again has a traumatic
injury, requiring amputation. By October of 2003, a finger has also been
injured severely enough to require amputation. In January of 2004, his
left leg is lacerated and his right ankle has been bitten. In June of
2004, a toe is amputated after a bite wound. In October of 2004, his
tail is again injured requiring amputation. In October of 2005, as part
of an experiment, his skull is cut open in two places and the membrane
which surrounds the brain is cut.
Ibotenic acid is injected into his brain. Eighteen months later he is
Many other primates have similar life histories. Primate 32235 lived for
seven years and endured four amputations, a laceration, traumatic
injuries, and bite wounds that involved the tail, finger, elbow, and
toe. Primate 28951 endured four amputations and three bite wounds
involving the tail, face, and toe.
These are the reactions of 400 minds not unlike our own to severely
abnormal conditions. In the 1500 pages of clinical records, trauma is
documented 403 times and amputation 143 times, along with 387 wounds,
221 bites, 70 abrasions, 171 lacerations, and 40 fractures.
The high levels of stress have many consequences other than overtly
self-destructive or aggressive behavior. In many of these animals,
severe and ongoing conditions of gastro-intestinal inflammation exist,
such as enteritis and colitis. In fact, the word colitis is mentioned
117 times in approximately 400 pages of post-mortem reports. Rampant
stress and disease lead to other dire consequences.
These same 400 pages of death records use the word inanition (a
bodily condition which resembles starvation) 108 times and dehydration
In this same group, the females gave birth to 705 live offspring,
another 244 were stillborn, an infant death rate of almost 26% which can
be attributed to maternal stress and poor health.
The existences of these 400 or so intelligent sensitive animals are
summarized in injuries, illnesses, and deaths. All living things end in
death, this is unavoidable. But it almost seems as though these monkeys
were trying to hasten their deaths.
Their injuries, whether self-inflicted or as violence practiced on each
other, have the appearance of either attempted suicide or violence
induced by madness. And when conscious efforts at death were
unsuccessful, their bodies self-destructed.
It has been said that madness is a sane response to an insane situation.
As a species, human beings practice insanity on each other regularly. As
“scientists” we practice it on many other species. We use them as tools,
apparatus, and experimental subjects. We take their freedom, their
sanity, and eventually their lives. We change them from beings that have
lives to something different. They become nothing more than information
-- just data, only numbers.