Tuesday, November 13, 2007

strike one against ohsu's primate research center

from peta:

click here to help! it only takes a second.

Ask the USDA to Investigate Treatment of Monkeys at ONPRCDuring a four-month undercover investigation at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), a PETA investigator documented violations of animal protection laws and monkeys who were living in constant fear, confined to small cages and traumatized by rough handling.

Our investigator observed sick monkeys who received inadequate veterinary care and pain relief; employees who chased terrified monkeys around their enclosures, capturing them and pinning their arms behind their backs to force them into transport boxes; and staff who sprayed water from high-pressure hoses into cages with monkeys still in them, leaving the animals wet and frightened. Monkeys were also seen picking food out of the waste trays beneath their cages and frantically pacing back and forth inside small, barren steel cages, driven mad by life inside these prisons.

ONPRC houses more than 4,000 monkeys, and its experimenters received more than $33 million in taxpayer money in 2007, much of which was spent on cruel animal studies of illnesses that have already been well researched using clinical data from humans.

In one example of the wasteful experiments at ONPRC, experimenter Eliot Spindel has injected pregnant monkeys with nicotine, delivered the babies by cesarean section, measured the babies' lung function, and then killed the babies and cut them up for exam—even though the dangers of nicotine to human infants have been well documented in studies of people.

In another example, experimenter Judy Cameron takes infant monkeys from their mothers and observes their psychological suffering—even though these traumatizing experiments have been conducted for half a century and the tragic effects of maternal deprivation have long been identified in humans.

PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging the agency to investigate all violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Please join us! Politely ask the USDA to launch a full investigation into violations of the AWA at ONPRC.

i have mixed feelings about peta, as i feel like they are more about money and use animal rights as a platform, they euthanize almost all the animals they 'rescue', however, they are great at exposing animal abuse and generating public outcry.

also, please visit here for more information on the primate research center in beaverton (also they have several other testing centers, incuding one inside ohsu's hospital on the hill) or to volunteer with us to spread news about the test center and how much money is wasted for no cures.

from the oregonian:

PETA infiltrates primate center
Animal research - The activist group will formalize its accusations against the Hillsboro facility today

Tuesday, November 13, 2007BRYAN DENSON The Oregonian Staff
For the second time in a decade, an animal-rights activist has slipped past employment screeners at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, taken a job as a monkey handler and accused the facility of routinely abusing animals.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a national animal-rights group, planted one of its undercover investigators at the Hillsboro center from April 9 to July 25, officials at the nonprofit told The Oregonian.

The investigator, whom neither PETA nor the primate center would identify, took a job as an animal husbandry technician and secretly took notes and shot video to document her complaints. PETA will formalize her accusations today in a complaint to federal regulators.

"We are an open facility," declared Michael Conn, the associate director and acting head of the primate center's Department of Animal Resources, in a response Monday. Regulators have inspected the primate center three times since February, finding the facility in full compliance with federal law, he said. "There are no secrets here."

PETA's complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture accuses the primate center, a wing of Oregon Health & Science University, of violating eight provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, a federal law intended to guarantee humane treatment of research animals. Among PETA's allegations:

Primate center officials failed to provide timely or effective veterinary treatment for monkeys suffering chronic vomiting, diarrhea and kidney stones.

The center failed to ensure that employees were qualified to perform medical procedures, allowing a worker with palsied hands to give hypodermic injections that caused blood to spurt from a monkey's arm.

Workers failed to prevent monkeys from suffering trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm and unnecessary discomfort, sometimes putting sedated animals into group enclosures that exposed them to falls or attacks from other monkeys.

"The actions of (primate center) staff show a flagrant disregard for the law and for the animals for whom they are responsible," the complaint alleges.

Similar complaints from another animal rights infiltrator in 2000 were investigated by the USDA, and the center was found not to violate the law. Conn said he would be "absolutely shocked" if the new allegations were substantiated.

Oregon's primate center, with annual research grants of $33.3 million, performs experiments on many of the 4,200 monkeys in its care, putting the facility in the cross hairs of groups such as PETA.

The key purpose of the Norfolk, Va., nonprofit is to protect animals from being used for food, clothing, entertainment or medical research.

In 1998, Matt Rossell, a former PETA investigator, went to work as an animal welfare technician at the center. He spent more than two years taking notes and photographs, secretly videotaping screeching monkeys, including one that had chewed a large gash in its own arm.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, in Maryland, formalized Rossell's observations in a Sept. 6, 2000, complaint to the USDA. It accused the facility of caging animals in filth and abusively small enclosures; conducting needless surgeries; and letting unskilled workers give monkeys injections.

Rossell also complained that the center's method of extracting sperm from monkeys -- a process called electroejaculation -- caused them pain.

The USDA sent six officials to investigate Rossell's complaints. Four months later, they cleared the primate center of violating the Animal Welfare Act, although inspectors did recommend the center improve conditions for 1,201 monkeys then kept indoors.

The center has spent much of the past seven years developing one of the nation's best "psychological well-being" programs for monkeys, said Kristine Coleman, who heads the center's behavioral sciences unit. Today, Coleman said, monkeys get more fruits and vegetables, which stimulate their natural foraging instincts.

The primate center also improved its method of extracting sperm, a process, taped by Rossell, which had burned the penises of two monkeys. Pain and injury have been halted by giving the animals a light sedative and an analgesic, said Dr. Gwen Maginnis, the center's chief attending veterinarian.

Primate center officials were caught off guard seven years ago, after learning they had hired Rossell, who champions a belief that animals are sentient beings entitled to legal rights against exploitation.

The center, which hires about 50 employees a year, improved job screening by adding a full criminal background check and asking applicants and their references whether they think animals should be used in medical research.

"If they come here with a clean criminal history and they lie about their interest and the reason they're here," Conn said, "there's not a lot you can do."

PETA's director of research, Kathy Guillermo, defended the group's use of undercover investigators at biomedical facilities.

"If the laboratories would open their doors and let us in, we would certainly rather do it that way," she said. "Unfortunately what we find over and over and over again is that the doors are shut tight."