University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Letter of Complaint to USDA - 23 Apr 2012

"This lab performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered."


April 23, 2012


1081-B St. Rt. 28   #280
Milford, Ohio 45150


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

Dr. Gibbens,

 I am contacting you today because I am concerned about a significant number of primates who have escaped from their enclosures, were injured or died at the University of Washington, Seattle (UW). 

 Again, according to UW primate health care records, many animals were negligently injured.  On 2/27/11 Primate J97270 was injured because “AT reported injury to animal.  Animal grabbed scissors from AT.”  On approximately 4/5/11 Primate K11027, an infant who was having issues with thermo-regulation (an external heat source was used) is listed with a “what looks to be burn trauma of the D5 of the left foot.”   On 1/20/11 surgery for primate A07005 was cancelled:  “Turned off gas and notified veterinarian.  Veterinarian cancelled surgery as the animal appears to have had access to food.  . . .  Animal vomited large quantity of partially digested food and extubated itself.  Food observed in trach tube.”   On 4/14/10 a surgical procedure was botched when “1mm probe inadvertently penetrated brain tissue during procedure.”  This monkey lived with neurological deficits for a substantial period of time with a “right sided head tilt and turns only to the right.”  Primate R08004 was simply found dead with “severe edema and swelling of head and both arms with jacket and collar in place.  Ingesta present in mouth and a few drops of blood noted on nose and stabilization lugs.”  Primate A07121 was euthanized because “During a routine blood draw, it was discovered that the animal had a fractured right femur.” 

 Clearly the treatment, or lack thereof, given to these monkeys violates Section 2.33 Veterinary care requirements for observation, because this broken bone should have been diagnosed previously, not “discovered” during a blood draw, and the infant primate if observed properly would not have been burned.    These incidents must also raise questions regarding the staff of the UW, and their ability to do their jobs correctly because a primate who is going into surgery must not be fed, probes should not be shoved into the brain causing neurological deficits, and it is usually best if primates not be allowed to play with scissors.  These situations potentially violate multiple sections of the Animal Welfare Act including, but not limited to, 2.32 Personnel Qualifications, and/or section 2.131 Animal Handling, and again, 2.33 Adequate Veterinary care.

 The causes of injuries for other animals were not as clear but the consequences for these animals were severe.  For Example, eight inches of the tail of Primate M07200 were amputated due to a traumatic injury on 4/15/10.  On 9/3/10 eight inches of the tail of Primate M05221 were amputated following a traumatic injury.  On 4/3/11 the tips of several fingers on the left hand of Primate A06077 were avulsed (forcibly detached) exposing bone.  Primate K03150 is listed with two lacerations, a 5 cm injury and an older 10 cm injury.    These are by no means the only animals with traumatic injuries.  If all of the traumatic injuries for this facility were listed, this complaint would be pages longer.   These incidents may well also violate section 2.32 Personnel Qualifications, and/or section 2.131 Animal Handling, and again, 2.33 Adequate Veterinary care.

As you know, the UW recently paid a fine for the deaths of several animals.  One of whom had essentially starved to death, losing a substantial amount of body weight.

 As you also know from the previous case regarding the University of Washington, Seattle, this facility has a policy that states: “WANPRC IACUC Approved Animal Use Policy regarding "Permissible Weight Loss" clearly states that, "The upper limit of acceptable weight loss in animals on experimental regimens shall be 20%."  In violation of the UW’s own policy, primate J04245 (4/6/10) developed a weight loss which the record states was “over 25%.”   This primate’s record not only constitutes a clear violation of the UW’s own policy, but also of section 2.33 adequate veterinary care.  Similarly, Primate A06014 also had a major loss of weight (7/27/10).  The record for this primate states: “The animal has had a dermatological condition intermittently since ’07.  Recently, there has been a >20% body weight loss, and the dermatologic condition has been recurring.”  Similarly, primate A02006 also had (8/18/10) major weight loss.  “The animal eventually developed >25% body weight loss . . .”  Again, Primate 01134 is listed (3/25/11) as having “approximately 30% weight loss.”  Primate 04044 is listed (4/15/11) with a “profound weight loss.”  Primate A08015 is listed on 7/6/10 with a 27% weight loss.   Clearly, all of these animals potentially violate the UW’s own policy on allowable weight loss, and the section 2.33 requirements for adequate veterinary care and must begin to call into question the quality of the staff at the UW, potentially violating 2.32 Personnel Qualifications.

 We are concerned that this facility has violated the Animal Welfare Act in other ways.  We believe that overall, the incidents recounted herein may indicate potential violations of several sections of the Animal Welfare Act including but not limited to,:  Section 2.33 Veterinary Care. (b)(2)  The use of appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases and injuries; and (b)(3) daily observation of animals. Section 2.38 Miscellaneous (f)(1) handling; Section 2.131 Animal Handling; 2.32 Personnel Qualifications, etc.

As this investigation is likely to bring to light more violations by the University of Washington, Seattle, I must also insist that this facility receives the maximum in penalties for these infractions, especially since these incidents are directly relevant to the suffering and deaths of many animals.

 I expect that your office will reply to this correspondence within five business days.    

Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN 

Attachments: Primate Post-Mortem Records from UW Primate Research Center

Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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