Primate Health Care at UC Davis/CPRC
Statistics filed in reports by the California Primate
Research Center with the NIH are not conclusive. The methodology of
these statistics does not allow for meaningful interpretation.
Therefore, post-mortem records (obtained through public records request
to the University of California) for 321 primates who died at the
California primate Research Center will be the basis of assessing the
health and treatment of the animals at CPRC.
This group of 321 primates died from January of 2001
through September 2001.
49 of these necropsies represented
abortions/stillbirths. 21 represented neonatal deaths which were caused
by everything from parental neglect to failure to thrive. 195 of the
deaths were experimental in nature. 78 of the experimental deaths had
little/no diagnostic work done because the animals were killed for
tissue harvest. Therefore these 78 deaths will not figure into
calculations regarding health matters. 56 adult primates died of
For statistical purposes this report will use a
sampling of 173 non-infant primates who died of both experimental and
non-experimental causes. Many causes of death were listed including:
pneumonia, meningitis, encephalitis, colitis, bloat, etc. The most
common findings in these documents were: colitis/gastritis/enteritis (63
or 36%), inanition/thin (59 or 34%), dehydration (34 or 19.7%) and
parasites (24 or 13.9%). Fully 1/3 of the primate deaths, of either or
non-experimental causes involved gastro-intestinal tract disease.
The information would lead to several conclusions.
While gastro-intestinal tract disease can have many causes, in captive
animals – especially those who are subjected to unnatural conditions
and/or experimentation – stress is a common cause. Additionally, 1/3 of
these primates were allowed to reach an advanced state of debilitation
marked by substantial loss of body mass (inanition/thin) and/or
dehydration. Clearly, these animals are being allowed to reach an
unacceptable level of deterioration. It is highly likely that these
animals received inadequate care. Whatever the cause, at least 46 of the
primates at CPRC suffered substantially as a result of their diseases –
many of which were experimentally induced. However, according to the
staff of UC Davis none of these animals (despite the severely
debilitated conditions which were reached by these animals) experienced
any pain or distress.
Animal care practices at UC Davis have recently come
under fire after the deaths of seven primates due to a malfunctioning