Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

UCD reports monkey's heat death


Dr. Roxanne Mullaney, 9/25/23
Deputy Administrator, Animal Care, USDA/APHIS/AC
[email protected]
[email protected]

Please launch a full investigation of the UC Davis incident which cooked a primate to death in a heated van. This horrific death must not go unpunished!

UCD reports monkey's heat death

From Monica Stark,, September 22, 2023

A UC Davis laboratory primate was cooked to a coma inside a 130-degree university van on May 12, according to an independent report by Christian Abee, professor emeritus at the University of Texas. The incident led to the animal's euthanasia following "extensive, multisystem injuries resulting from acute hyperthermia (heat stroke)," according to Abee.

He wrote that the incident could have been avoided if the van had been equipped with a thermostatically controlled heater or if the animal had not been left unattended for a substantial time. Abee noted that the factors leading to this adverse event were not anticipated within the standard operating procedures nor from prior experience transporting animals.

UCD is implementing Abee's recommendations, which call for all animal transport, holding, and housing facilities to have thermostatically controlled heating and cooling to maintain a steady temperature.

Abee also recommended reviewing and updating standard operating procedures to ensure regular, frequent checks on animals, that no animal should be left unattended, and to consider the age and clinical condition of animals being transported. He also recommended additional staff training.

UCD submitted the report to federal regulators and released the following statement: "We deeply regret the preventable death of this animal. As home to one of the largest animal care research programs in the country, the welfare of every animal at UC Davis is our highest priority, and the avoidable death of any animal in our program is a tragedy. We are taking immediate actions to prevent an event like this from occurring again."

Pn a letter to Chancellor Gary S. May, Stop Animal Exploitation Now Executive Director Michael A. Budkie called for either the immediate termination of those involved in the incident or their reassignment to "areas where they will never handle animals again."
He argues that anyone who is "even minimally aware" of the standards for proper care of a monkey would know that this type of treatment could easily cause excessive elevation of the monkey's temperature, resulting in injury or death. "No one who is so oblivious to the welfare of an animal as to subject them to forced air heat of 130 degrees, and then leave them unattended for 50 - 90 minutes should be handling animals," he wrote. He also stated to impact this situation, SAEN filed a federal complaint with USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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