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Articles and Reports

Primate Health at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center:
What We Weren’t Told by the UW
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN


It is quite apparent that the primates within the WNPRC are highly stressed animals. It is also apparent that the staff of WNPRC is aware of the frequency of the health problems, because the gastric diseases in the marmoset colony are referred to as common within the colony.

The primates within the WNPRC are apparently so severely stressed by the combination of confinement, and in some instances social isolation, that their bodies have begun to feel the consequences. They have developed several stress-related diseases and have even begun to injure themselves. Other diseases (meningitis, encephalitis, etc.) can be causally related to the placement of devices directly onto the skulls of primates, often done with steel screws. This process can be very stressful. It is entirely likely that the primates within WNPRC have a bodily chemistry which is so terribly out of whack that they would not even accurately represent other con-specifics, let alone people.

These health care issues can affect not only the health-and-well-being of the primates, but they have the potential to totally invalidate all research projects involving these animals. Their bodily chemistry would likely be substantially altered, as would the immune system response for these animals, that any results obtained from experiments using these primates would be virtually meaningless.

Additional diseases are direct consequences of the experimental procedures in which the primates are used. For example, projects involving the attaching of devices directly to the heads of primates and/or leaving openings in the skulls of primates have (not surprisingly) led to pathological conditions such as encephalitis, meningitis, etc.

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