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Scientists criticize UC Primate Experiments; Watchdog Group Demands Regents Meeting & Lab Inspection

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Contact: Michael Budkie 513-575-5517; 513-703-9865 (cell)
ATTN: Assignment Desk

Scientists criticize UC Primate Experiments; Watchdog Group Demands Regents Meeting & Lab Inspection

Davis, CA – A panel of scientists – including two former University of California veterinarians – have issued statements criticizing experimental procedures commonly used within the labs of UCLA, UC Davis, and UCSF.

Scientific procedures within several university of California facilities routinely deprive rhesus monkeys of water, confine them to restraint chairs, and literally bolt devices to their skulls. These procedures have been labeled “unethical,” “distressful” and causing “great pain and suffering” by veterinary and scientific experts across the U.S.

SAEN, a National Research Watchdog organization, has gone to the University Of California Board Of Regents to demand a meeting whose purpose is the elimination of these procedures and the initiation of a sanctuary retirement program for primates from University of California laboratories. Inspection tours of all UC labs have also been demanded.

“Severe restraint or confinement, such as that involving restraint chairs, is one of the most stressful things that can be done to a primate . . . the situation is exacerbated when the motion of a primate is further limited by the use of surgically implanted restraining bars. Experiments that utilize these procedures are unethical,” said Dr. Bruce Max Feldmann, UC Berkeley Lab Veterinarian for 10 years

“One of the most stressful things that can be done to a wild animal is to restrain her or him. As a result, nonhuman primates have to be ‘trained’ to sit in these chairs because it is unnatural and highly stressful for them to be confined in this manner. To make matters even worse for them, restraining devices may be surgically implanted so that the animal’s head will not move at all” Dr. Nedim C. Buyukmihci, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis.

“Scientific experts have roundly criticized these horrific procedures,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,

Executive Director, SAEN. “Now it is time for the Board of Regents to act.”

Other experts criticizing these experiments include Dr. Nicholas Dodman Director of the Tufts University Animal behavior clinic: “ . . . withholding water for up to 22 hours per day for five days a week in order that the monkeys are motivated to work for fluid reward is unconscionable.”

The statements of the panel of six scientific experts are available upon request.  


See also: End the abuse in University of California labs
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