S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe
out animal experimentation"
UW's animal care at primate center questioned
Seattle Times staff reporter
17 Oct 2002
Expressing concerns about potentially negligent animal care, a national
organization is calling for an independent investigation of the University
of Washington National Primate Research Center.
Michael Budkie, executive director of Cincinnati-based Stop Animal
Exploitation Now! (SAEN), said the request for an investigation was
sparked by what the group sees as a high incidence of nonexperimental
deaths and the disclosure that one dead primate was found to have nearly
15 pieces of a latex glove in its intestinal tract in 2001.
"These animals are dying under mysterious circumstances," Budkie said.
"I'd like to see experts in the area of exotic-animal care examine the
practices that are commonplace at the UW."
Budkie's request for an investigation was included in a letter to UW
President Richard McCormick yesterday. The letter also raised concerns
about the qualifications of personnel at the primate center, the level of
regular observation and the quality of care animals receive.
In addition to the dead primate found with pieces of latex in its
intestinal tract, Budkie pointed out post-mortem records from 2001 of
primates that appeared to have died from anesthetic overdose, malnutrition
and dehydration. Budkie said he had obtained the UW documents through the
Freedom of Information Act.
"These documents raise serious questions regarding animal care, or the
lack thereof, at the Washington National Primate Research Center," he
If the organization does not hear from McCormick within 10 business
days, Budkie said it may try to get a federal agency to investigate.
McCormick could not be reached for comment, but UW Health Sciences and
Medical Affairs spokesman L.G. Blanchard disputed SAEN's claims of
negligent animal care, saying the center is in "excellent standing" with
the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal
"Animal-rights extremists are intent on using whatever means, including
public-misinformation campaigns, to stop lifesaving biomedical research at
the University of Washington and elsewhere," Blanchard said.
The center at the UW is one of eight primate-research centers in the
U.S. It is part of the UW's Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center,
which houses the schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and public
health, University of Washington Medical Center and several other research
centers. The primate center touches almost every field of primate biology
and medicine, including AIDS-related research and primate models for human
Blanchard declined to comment on the primate found with latex in its
intestinal tract or whether the UW would pursue an investigation.
He said the primate center reports regularly to a number of government
agencies and provides numerous opportunities for the public to participate
in the work of its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
"The university is required by law to pay very close attention to
ensuring the highest standards of animal care and use in all of its
programs," Blanchard said. "The university is fully accountable for every
major aspect of its animal-care and -use programs."
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