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

The Defender
From Spring 2009 Issue

SAEN Exposes Chimpanzee and Monkey Suffering -- New Iberia Research Center

In January of 2009, SAEN exposed the terrible suffering of primates including chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys inside the New Iberia Research Center of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette (ULL/NIRC). This story was picked up by dozens of news outlets across several states reaching hundreds of thousands of people. SAEN’s Executive Director, Michael A. Budkie has also filed an Official Complaint with the USDA demanding an in-depth investigation.

The New Iberia Research Center of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette is an extremely secretive place. Very little is known about the inner workings of this facility, except that it is huge. During 2006, ULL/NIRC reported the use of 6489 primates, most of whom were part of breeding programs, not actual  experimentation. Due to the secrecy which surrounds this lab, what little information we have been able to obtain is shocking.

Chimpanzee A155E was born on January 1, 1983. By November 9, 2007, he is dead. In between those dates his life appears to be extremely monotonous. The only notations in his records are for dosages of Fibercon, a dietary fiber pill being given to handle gastric issues. At his death, A155E is described as being “thin and there is apparent muscle atrophy” and “the abdomen is distended.”

The necropsy also states several things which indicate serious, untreated, pathological conditions. The necropsy report describes approximately 2 liters of fluid in the abdomen, as well as a heart abnormality. The report also mentions: “a large abscessed area (20 cm diam) adherent to the body wall.” This mass is described as containing “a greenish purulent material” and a “necrotic center.”

However, from May 23, 2005 until the time of his death in November of 2007, the only treatment prescribed was fiber tablets. His condition was likely unnoticed and untreated, because he was only one of over 6000 primates.

Chimpanzee A096 was born in January of 1963. Other than the date of birth, the available NIRC records provide nothing between 1963 and 1990. From 1990 to 2006 little is known about this chimp other than weights and CBC values. He had been part of a study that ended in 1992. He was vasectomized on August 24, 2006, and died just a few days later. Two days later he is listed as having swollen testicles, and he is D.O.A. on the 28th. The only treatment that this animal received during this period was Motrin, and the cause of death is left open.

However, it is apparent that he had serious heart issues due to the 500 ml of yellowish fluid in the pericardial sac, a situation which can be connected to cardiac tamponade. A vasectomy is an elective surgery and should not have been performed in a chimpanzee with a serious heart condition.

Chimpanzee A272 was born in January of 1968, spending 38 years in laboratory settings until dying of gastric bloat in November of 2006. Bloat is a condition that can be related to improper diet and is extremely painful. Additionally, his records do not list any treatment for this condition; it was discovered only at death.

Rhesus monkey A4P001 was born in captivity in April of 2004, surviving only until November of 2006, just over two years. He is diagnosed at death with toxemia (blood poisoning) and 6-7 cm of gastric blockage. The veterinary records state that “Approximately 3cm of involved gut was necrosing” (dying). In other words, over 2 ½ inches of the small intestine was blocked and over an inch of this tissue had died. This monkey had not seen a veterinarian for 5 months.

Rhesus monkey A4PO15 was born in captivity in July of 2004 and died in August of 2006. She was admitted on the day before death and is described as “thin, dehydrated, poor sparse hair coat” and “blood found oozing from the rectum.” This monkey received a physical exam on June 19, 2006 and received no treatment of any kind in the intervening period.

Rhesus monkey A4P010 came into the world on June 22, 2004. During his short life he suffered through several bouts of enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) with serious diarrhea. He was diagnosed with this condition again in the days before his death. He was allowed to deteriorate to the point of developing septicemia, a life-threatening infection.

Two infant primates, A7P001 and A7P003 are listed as dying due to maternal neglect and/or maternal trauma. In other words, these infants died of injuries from attacks by their mothers. A7P001 is described as having “multiple wounds and bruising to: arms, legs, tail, face and a large (nickel sized) hole in skin covering head with skull exposed.” The mental state necessary to cause a mother to abuse her offspring so violently is incomprehensible.

Over 69,000 nonhuman primates suffered in experimentation in the U.S. during 2007, and an almost equivalent number languished in seemingly endless captivity for the purpose of producing more victims for experimentation. We will never know anything about most of these innocents whose only ‘crime’ was to not be born in their natural habitat. They live in stainless steel box-like cages or fenced corrals that resemble the exercise yards of human prisons. They have been reduced to mass produced commodities whose sole purpose is monetary – rhesus monkeys often sell for over $5000 each. They are the raw materials used to attract research grants or contracts in six or seven figures – the University of Louisiana receives over $6 million per year in federal money for the maintenance of these 6000 victims.

As a whole these relatives of ours are hidden from view. Their lives are unknown, their deaths un-mourned. They pass through the world as shadows robbed of everything but the capacity to feel pain. Most of us choose not to see the painful reality that constitutes their lives. The pictures are too uncomfortable, and as long as we ignore them, we can pretend that they really don’t exist. Their suffering will continue as long as their lives remain hidden. Please help us bring this harsh reality out into the open.

Please write to the Western Regional Office of the USDA and demand that they take serious action against the New Iberia Research Center.

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

[email protected]

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