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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Events and Campaigns

The Water Project

Many people believe that animals in laboratories are protected from abuse by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and that was the intent of this law – to prevent the kinds of things that most of us would consider to be cruel. This law was designed, like most state cruelty laws, to prevent abuse. Minimum standards, in the form of federal regulations, were to be established to give force to the spirit of the AWA. The United States Department of Agriculture, through the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, was given the authority to promulgate regulations to protect animals in the possession of laboratories, exhibitors, dealers, etc.

“The Secretary shall promulgate standards to govern the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animals by dealers, research facilities, and exhibitors.”

In fact, the USDA has put forth regulations that appear to do these things, such as:

“Deprivation of food or water shall not be used to train, work, or otherwise handle animals;”

These regulations have the potential to protect animals from some forms of abuse. But in some instances they were weakened by exceptions, and the exceptions invariably seem to apply to research laboratories:

“Provided, however: That the short-term withholding of food or water from animals, when specified in an IACUC-approved activity that includes a description of monitoring procedures, is allowed by these regulations.”

In other words, a committee which is made up primarily of researchers, and people who are in the hierarchy of research institutions, can decide that it is ok for their staff to deprive animals of food and/or water.

The result of this essential non-regulation is that literally hundreds of research protocols exist that systematically deprive primates of water for as much as 22 hours per day, 5 days per week.

What do the experts say about how much water a primate needs? Well, the Guide for the Care and Use of Animals in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research quotes information showing a range of possibilities – from 75 ml/kg to 110 ml/kg. The bottom end of this range, 75 ml/kg, translates into roughly 11.25 oz/lb of body weight. This means that a 22 lb primate should consume roughly 250 oz of water per day.

This is equivalent, in terms of volume, to consuming approximately 21 cans of soda in one day, assuming that these are 12 oz cans.

What happens to primates that are being used in a protocol that involves “fluid restriction” or “fluid regulation”– the researcher’s euphemisms for water deprivation? It is not uncommon for primates of roughly 22lb body weight to receive only 1/5 – 2/5 of a cup of water per day – or less than 1/3 of a 12oz soda can. This is a daily total – less than 4 oz of water for an entire day.

This kind of deprivation is nothing less than barbaric. This should not be allowed under any circumstances. There are certain kinds of things that are just plain wrong -- no exceptions, no provisos. This is just wrong, and it cannot be sanctified with the approval of any committee.

Therefore, the exception to this regulation, which starts with the words “Provided, however, . . .” (above) should be removed. There should be no exceptions.

Our goal in The Water Project is to eliminate this practice from medical research. If this kind of procedure took place outside of an animal laboratory, the perpetrators would be jailed for animal cruelty. Unfortunately, research laboratories are usually exempted from state anti-cruelty laws.

The people that practice this kind of barbarity on animals often use grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund their projects. In other words, your tax money pays for these barbaric experiments. Tax dollars that could be funding treatment programs for victims of substance abuse or health care for low income families are instead being used to torture animals.

We have a right to voice our opinions on this issue; after all we’re footing the bill. And this is exactly what we are asking you to do. There are several ways that you can voice your opinion.

Please contact the Secretary of Agriculture to demand a change to the regulations which allow the use of water deprivation for the training of animals in research projects.

The regulations disseminated by the United States Department of Agriculture must be changed. Please contact the Secretary of Agriculture, asking him to change 9 CFR 2.38 so that depriving animals of food and/or water is NEVER an acceptable training method, even if the researchers seem to think so. The text: “Provided, however: That the short-term withholding of food or water from animals, when specified in an IACUC-approved activity that includes a description of monitoring procedures, is allowed by these regulations.” should be removed from the regulations (9 CFR 2.38 (2) (ii)).

Mike Johanns, Secretary U.S. Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Room 200-A Whittenbg Washington, DC 20250 (202) 720-3631 [email protected] 

Demand that the process of amending this regulation be started immediately.

Don’t take no for an answer. Secretary Johanns needs to hear from you early and often.

We must also let the people who are utilizing this barbaric practice that they need to stop immediately. Therefore, we will be posting a “Monkey Abuser of the Week” every Tuesday to give you the ability to voice your opinion to the abusers themselves.

The link below will take you to the “Monkey Abuser of the Week” page. On this page we will give you the details of what happens in the experiments performed by this person, so that you can judge for yourself just how barbaric they are. You will then be given the contact information necessary to reach this person at the laboratory where these procedures are performed. We ask that you contact them in a civil and non-abusive way to insist that they immediately end the practice of depriving primates of water. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t feel nervous about doing this. These “experimentalists” are essentially your employees; you have a right to express your opinion to them. Please bookmark this page and come back often. Hundreds of people qualify for the title “Monkey Abuser” and we plan to show you all of them.

Monkey Abusers of the Week

AWA Regulation


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