Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Horrible Conditions for Primates at University of South Alabama's Primate Research Laboratory Being Exposed

This is nothing new in the situation of primates (or any other animals) in laboratories. Just as a human would, under severe stress, engaging in self-mutilation and other disturbing behaviors are quite common.


Animal rights officials target USA's Primate Research Lab

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Staff Reporter

Some monkeys at the University of South Alabama's Primate Research Laboratory are so stressed by captivity that they have gnawed through parts of their own bodies, an animal rights activist said Monday.

The activist, Michael A. Budkie, director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, held a news conference in Mobile to bring attention to what he considers "very shocking" treatment at the lab on the university's campus in west Mobile.

Kit King, director of Alabama Voice for Animals, accompanied Budkie.

They pointed out that even though the monkeys are being bred and housed at the university for experiments elsewhere, they still are being confined to cages, which they said is causing some of the animals to go insane.

"The only conclusion we can draw is that the conditions in which these animals are housed are so barren, so utterly lifeless, that they have essentially lost their minds. ... The primates have been driven insane by captivity," Budkie said.

He said that following the morning news conference, he and King went to USA and asked to see the monkeys and their cages but were turned away.

Contacted Monday for a comment on the accusations, Paul Taylor, associate director of public relations at USA's College of Medicine, said the primate lab "conforms to all applicable laws in the care and humane treatment of animals."

He declined to comment on specific allegations.

"We are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International. We are inspected regularly and are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," Taylor said.

King said that after numerous requests, and a wait of several months, she and Budkie were able to get copies of several necropsies (autopsies) performed on monkeys that died at the USA lab.

"One of the primates, that was the most disconcerting for us, was a female, I believe, who had become so stressed that she began to cannibalize her own intestinal tract," King said.

Budkie said that if what he considers improper treatment of the monkeys doesn't improve, he will file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture.

"Hopefully, by the end of the year they will make some changes," he said.

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