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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Articles and Reports

Letter to the Regents of the University of California - 9 Jun 2008


Regents of the University of California 
1111 Franklin St., 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607

To the Regents of the University of California:

Several branches of the University of California have become embroiled in controversies relevant to the use of animals in experimentation. As a response to this situation the University of California attempted to silence critics through AB 2296 by eliminating access to public records. This situation has the potential to continue to escalate if some efforts at progress are not made in the very near future.

I am very concerned that attempts at obtaining public records from two University of California campuses, those in Los Angeles and Davis have recently been denied by UC Officials. We would prefer to avoid litigation on these matters but that may not be possible.

Past efforts made by SAEN to meet with officials of several UC branches have been denied by staff of both UCLA and UC Davis. However, SAEN believes in utilizing the principles of dialogue and negotiation whenever possible.

Therefore, in the interest of resolving the current controversy, I would like to propose a set of meetings to discuss meaningful changes in the use of animals by the University of California. As a prelude to these meetings SAEN has asked a group of credentialed experts in animal care, including two veterinarians who have been associated with the University of California, to evaluate several experimental procedures that we believe should be the starting point of examining the use of primates within University of California facilities. These procedures are the use of food/water deprivation, the use of restraint chairs, and the use of surgically implanted devices such as restraining bars and/or recording cylinders.

We have obtained the opinions of several scientific experts and they have unanimously declared that these procedures cause distress and/or pain in primate experimentation. This issue is a concern for several reasons. Initially, it is obvious that depriving any animal, including primates, of food or water for extended periods is not a humane practice. Similarly, confining a non-human primate to a restraint chair must certainly cause stress, especially when this confinement is worsened by the utilization of surgically attached restraining and recording devices.

These procedures are also an issue because the Animal Welfare Act regulates them very specifically:

Sec. 2.36 Annual report.

(7) State the common names and the numbers of animals upon which teaching, experiments, research, surgery, or tests were conducted involving accompanying pain or distress to the animals and for which the use of appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs would have adversely affected the procedures, results, or interpretation of the teaching, research, experiments, surgery, or tests. An explanation of the procedures producing pain or distress in these animals and the reasons such drugs were not used shall be attached to the annual report;

It is our understanding that the primates which are used in experiments involving these procedures are not currently reported to the USDA by University of California facilities as being involved in projects relevant to unrelieved pain/distress. It is our belief that this is at least inaccurate reporting and is very likely a violation of federal law.

However, it is also our belief that procedures such as these should be eliminated from use by all facilities that are truly concerned about the welfare of the animals used in experimentation.

Therefore, I would like to officially request a meeting with representatives of the Board of Regents to discuss the elimination of these procedures from all University of California campuses. It is my belief that taking steps such as this would indicate substantial progress by the University of California, and would change the atmosphere surrounding this issue as a whole. To prevent any confusion about these issues, the procedures that should be eliminated from all University of California laboratories are:

1. The use of food and/or water deprivation in non-human primates for any reason but pre-surgical fasting. Depriving non-human primates of sustenance for extended periods as is currently practiced by university of California laboratories is inhumane, unethical, and has been declared causative of pain and distress by scientific experts.

2. The surgical attachment of devices such as restraining bars and recording cylinders to the skulls of non-human primates. These devices have also been declared by experts to cause pain and or distress in primates.

3. The use of primate restraint chairs in projects involving non-human primates. These devices severely restrict the movement of primates and have been declared by experts to cause substantial distress.

Additionally, the University of California system incarcerates over 5000 primates every year. I believe it is very likely that some of these animals are killed unnecessarily, when they could be retired to a primate sanctuary to live out their lives in a place that is designed to meet their needs. Therefore, I respectfully request that the University of California institute a fully funded retirement program for all primates that are not currently utilized in ongoing research projects.

And so, I respectfully request that a meeting to discuss these issues be arranged, at the earliest possible date. I would also request the opportunity to tour all University of California labs that utilize animals so that I may have the opportunity to personally assess the care received by these animals. I look forward to receiving a response within 5 business days.

With Respect For All Life,

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

See Also: University of California, Davis, CA

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