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

Media Coverage

Animal lab regulations violated, according to national watchdog
Electric shock listed as pain distress in report
Issue date: 12/4/07 Section: City News

Animal lab tests are usually performed with the intent of experimenting and researching. But when testing involves electric shock, animal testing becomes cruel and unusual, said Michael Budkie, executive director of the Ohio-based watchdog organization Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!.

Budkie, who has been actively involved in animal rights, said electric shock is only one of the methods that a recent United States Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Enforcement Report lists. Moreover, the report only lists 50 of the approximately 4000 animals experimented on in California as experiencing any pain, while SAEN has discovered about 50 more projects using several animals in each one, he said.

"When is electric shock not painful?" Budkie said. "You can't try to pretend that it's all right. It's amazing how we humans are so fraught with errors that we hide painful abuse and even the existence of thousands of animals from each other."

Budkie said the USDA report was so flawed that its statistics were also wrong.

"When you look at the report, you see that Wake Forest [University] used 740 primates in testing for 2005," Budkie said. "In actuality, Wake Forest uses about 1318 primates. That's a big difference when it comes to deceptive lying and reporting."

Budkie said labs at UCLA, Stanford University and UC Davis are violators of animal rights.

"These are supposed to be renowned reputable schools that give off pride and dignity," Budkie said. "Experiments that subject animals to electric shock or hunger aren't usually counted as causing pain."

California National Primate Research Center research services manager Jennifer Short said the CNPRC has strict regulatory procedures that they must follow. In 2006, CNPRC used monkeys in its research and breeding.

"We give the monkeys the best care possible," Short said. "Our staff is committed to following a human touch, giving a positive workspace and paying the attention to our monkeys that we give to our people."

Short said CNPRC was voted as a "model of excellence" when the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International evaluated the center about a year ago.

The praise doesn't mean the center hasn't received its critics, Short said.

"Concerning national statistics, they don't always reflect what a particular lab does," she said. "I'm not saying that one lab abuses animals or that another doesn't. We get critics who express their concern about humane handling of the monkeys."

But the USDA regulates all research facilities and sets standards of animal care and research, she said.

UC Davis alumnus and animal rights activist Pete Hernandez said alternative tests that do not use animals can be implemented. These in vitro, or test-tube alternatives, involve cell, tissue and organ systems. In vitro research costs one-tenth of animal testing, even though it can't replicate animal's whole cell makeup, he said.

But the fact that it's not the same thing means something to many people, Hernandez said.

"You could rely on natural ingredients for cosmetic manufacturing or avoid testing ingredients that are not known to be safe," he said. "But there's always the possibility of doing things the 'easy' way, testing on animals with stuff that's potentially harmful. Because it's out there, people have the option. It will take a lot of willpower and mobility to convince the world that animals have rights and deserve a place outside lab testing."


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