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Articles and Reports

Letter of Complaint to USDA about the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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


Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000
Raleigh, NC 27606

Dr. Goldentyer,

I am contacting you today in reference to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I have recently received documentation (attached) which includes the health care records for several primates. These records reveal several violations in the areas of inadequate veterinary care, inadequate enclosures, and housing/Facilities General 3.75 (a) as well as this section:

Sec. 3.80 Primary enclosures.

Primary enclosures for nonhuman primates must meet the following minimum requirements:
(a) General requirements. (1) Primary enclosures must be designed and constructed of suitable materials so that they are structurally sound for the species of nonhuman primates contained in them. They must be kept in good repair.
(2) Primary enclosures must be constructed and maintained so that they:
(i) Have no sharp points or edges that could injure the nonhuman primates;
(ii) Protect the nonhuman primates from injury;
(iii) Contain the nonhuman primates securely and prevent accidental opening of the enclosure, including opening by the animal;
(iv) Keep other unwanted animals from entering the enclosure or having physical contact with the nonhuman primates;

Also, Sec. 2.33 Adequate Veterinary Care

(b) Each research facility shall establish and maintain programs of adequate veterinary care that include:
(1) The availability of appropriate facilities, personnel, equipment, and services to comply with the provisions of this subchapter;
(2) The use of appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases and injuries, and the availability of emergency, weekend, and holiday care;

Veterinary records which I have obtained from this facility reveal substantial violations which have endangered the safety of the animals, specifically non-human primates.

Primate 97X3504 “Ford” is a good example of this situation. Ford sustained serious injuries when his left leg became caught in the floor of his cage on 3/27/08, and was trapped in this way overnight. Due to his frustration he self-mutilated his right leg. He received treatment for this for a number of weeks. His right foot became caught in the floor on 5/29/08, but it was freed before major injuries could occur. However, his right foot became caught again, that same evening, and was undiscovered until the next morning, by which time he had self-mutilated his left foot. The tactic that the University of Michigan employed to handle this situation was to kill Ford. Clearly, insufficient action was taken after the first time Ford’s leg was caught because subsequent incidents of this nature were not prevented.

Additionally, two primates, have escaped from their cages at the University of Michigan. One primate, named “Animal” escaped from his cage on 2/8/08. Another primate named Vash escaped from his cage on 8/15/07. He evidently had abrasions on the chin and neck and a 2 cm laceration on the left foot. These incidents clearly endanger the safety of these animals as well as other animals and the staff of the University of Michigan.

Fozzy was evidently attacked by another primate during 2007 (date unclear) and had previously been injured, possibly by another attack, so severely that amputation of several digits was required.

Pedro, another University of Michigan primate is noted on 10/31/07 and 11/5/07 to have “severe alopecia on all four limbs.” Stereotypical behavior is also mentioned on the 10/31/07 report. It is clear that that this animal is not being prevented from injuring himself. This may also be a violation of the regulations for environmental enhancement for primates, such as:

Sec. 3.81 Environment enhancement to promote psychological well-being.

(c) Special considerations. Certain nonhuman primates must be provided special attention regarding enhancement of their environment, based on the needs of the individual species and in accordance with the instructions of the attending veterinarian. Nonhuman primates requiring special attention are the following:
(1) Infants and young juveniles;
(2) Those that show signs of being in psychological distress through behavior or appearance;

I officially request that you initiate an immediate investigation of these incidents and that you levy the largest fine allowable by law against the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

I look forward to hearing of the results of your investigation as soon as possible. Please consider this a FOIA request for the results of your investigation (all documents generated as part of your investigation (including correspondence, emails, inspection reports, photos, etc.), made under the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. sec. 552.


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

See also : University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
               Necropsy Report - 2008

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