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

Media Coverage


Animal-rights group calls for UW investigation

by Dylan Lee Lehrke         UW Daily

A national animal-rights organization asked UW President Richard McCormick to commission an independent investigation of potentially negligent animal care at the Washington Regional Primate Research Center (WaRPRC) yesterday.

In a letter sent to McCormick and WaRPRC Director Dr. William Morton, the Cincinnati-based group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) expressed concerns regarding animal care and observation, qualification and training of personnel, and general procedures at the primate center. The letter cited high incidences of non-research-related deaths as the reason for the request.

According to Michael A. Budkie, executive director of SAEN, “suspicious causes” of death are recorded throughout UW’s post-mortem records.

“These animals are dying under mysterious circumstances,” said Budkie.

L.G. Blanchard, UW director of Health Sciences News and Community Relations, said the allegations are totally inconsistent with the primate center’s excellent standing with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.

“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,” said Blanchard.

In the UW diagnostic laboratory necropsy report cited by SAEN, investigators found that one primate died as a result of ingesting a latex glove. The necropsy found more than 15 pieces of latex glove inside the gastrointestinal tract of primate K93464.

SAEN also pointed to three animals that seemed to have had symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition at the time of death and two animals who died after being sedated for blood draws. All of the animals cited by SAEN died within the last two years.

“These documents raise serious questions regarding animal care, or the lack thereof, at the Washington National Primate Research Center,” said Budkie.

Although no recent death statistics are available, a SAEN report claims the UW primate center had a non-experimental death rate of 10.9 percent in the breeding colony and an experimental death rate of 18.6 percent in 1999. The report listed 391 deaths out of a population of 1,800 primates, 171 of which were non-experimental.

SAEN requested the UW respond to their request for an investigation within 10 business days, or face “more serious action” involving federal and other government agencies. Neither McCormick nor Morton were available to comment on whether an independent investigation would be ordered.

However, Blanchard pointed out that the UW already reports to a number of government agencies and provides opportunities for the public to have input through the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

“Animal rights extremists are intent on using whatever means, including public misinformation campaigns, to stop lifesaving biomedical research at the UW and elsewhere,” said Blanchard.

This is not the first time SAEN has targeted UW’s primate center for criticism. The group filed a complaint last October with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against 50 research institutions, including the UW, claiming researchers were not accurately reporting how much pain and distress animals endure in experiments.

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