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Articles and Reports

Letter of Complaint to the USDA about AWA Violations at the University of Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin, Madison. 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 improperly trained personnel.

The record for the primate named Conrad reveal that this animal has suffered from a long series of bacterial infections and abscesses. The most serious issue relates to a deep tooth abscess that was first suspected on 10/17/06. This condition is again mentioned on 11/13/06 when the record suggests that further assessment be done, including an x-ray to discover the condition of the jaw. This condition is not discussed again until 1/22/07 when the record discusses a “chronic sore L Lower Jaw. Can palpate bone damage under lesion. Suspect deep tooth abscess with mandible damage. Tooth extraction, surgical repair recommended.” No tooth extractions were performed until 2/5/07. Clearly, this animal was allowed to suffer unnecessary pain due to an untreated tooth abscess that was allowed to progress to a point where the mandible was damaged.

The records for the primates named Aldrin and Shepard discuss the escape of another primate (Glen) on 6/29/07. During this escape both Aldrin and Shepard were severely injured by Glen. Shepard’s record reveals that he had a “large laceration on R palm – extending from between the 3rd & 4th finger to the wrist.” Aldrin’s record states that his hand received “major trauma, unable to repair. Amputated finger at 1st phalangeal/metacarpal joint.”

It is very surprising that Glen’s record for the relevant period does not even mention that he escaped.

Shepard’s record also reveals that during a surgical procedure on 7/24/07 UW staff “Accidentally burned his forehead with soldering iron.”

It is also clear that these animals would have experienced substantial pain and distress and should have been reported as such on the annual report filed by this faciliy.

It is very clear from this information that the primates at the University of Wisconsin do not receive adequate veterinary care, their enclosures are not adequate, or the staff are careless enough to leave them open allowing serious injuries to other animals. Additionally, the negligence that caused another primate to be burned during a surgical procedure is shocking.

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 Wisconsin, Madison.
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future about the fate of this facility.


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

Sec. 2.33 Attending veterinarian and 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;
(3) Daily observation of all animals to assess their health and well-being;

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;

Sec. 3.75
Housing facilities, general. (a) Structure: construction. Housing facilities for nonhuman primates must be designed and constructed so that they are structurally sound for the species of nonhuman primates housed in them. They must be kept in good repair, and they must protect the animals from injury, contain the animals securely, and restrict other animals from entering.

See also University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

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