Abuse of Laboratory Primates Escalates, Organization Claims

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Abuse of Laboratory Primates Escalates, Organization Claims

Abuse of primates housed in U.S. experimental facilities is on the rise, according to the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN).

SAEN claims federal records and national estimates reveal that 5,000 monkeys are socially isolated in laboraties across the country. The organization further mentions that 1,700 non-human primates were denied anesthesia in painful experiments, while 900 were denied access to food, water and other basics.

In a press release issued today, SAEN targets two facilities as being the "worst primate labs in the U.S.": Charles River Laboratories and the National Institutes of Health. Each, SAEN says, has subjected over 1,000 primates to procedures that would be illegal outside of a lab.

But these two facilities are not the only ones mentioned by SAEN, which adds that a Texas lab allowed monkeys to die of both dehydration and hypothermia, while a primate was "killed by running him/her through a cage washer" at Harvard University. Similar incidents are believed to have happened at Charles River Laboratories and Vanderbilt University.

The press release additionally claims that a New Mexico lab allowed a monkey to die with its head stuck in a cage, and that a monkey experienced dehydration at Brown University "because a researcher left town for three days." Adequate veterinary care is also lacking at many university research facilities, according to the organization.

“These labs, and others, routinely subject non-human primates to government documented animal cruelty,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director SAEN.

He asks, “If private individuals treated animals the way that these labs do they would find themselves in jail. Why are there two different standards for legal animal care?”

The SAEN press release comes during National Primate Liberation Week, a time when individuals are urged to voice their concern over primates used in laboratory experiments.

The Animal Welfare Act is the only federal law in the U.S. that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. According to information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard.

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