The Oregon Regional Primate
Research Center (ORPRC) at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) has been taking
a well-deserved beating in the media during the past year as a result of two whistleblowers,
a primate technician and a USDA inspector, coming forward at an In Defense of
Animals press conference in August 2000.
evidence of animal cruelty includes video footage of ORPRCs electro-ejaculation
procedure, in which technicians electrocute the penises of fully conscious male
monkeys to obtain semen samples.
video, taken secretly, depicts monkeys driven mad by isolation and maternal deprivation,
attacking their own bodies and inflicting serious injuries.
than a dozen abnormal behaviors result from housing monkeys alone in cages little
more than two feet by two feet for their entire lives. Bored and lonely, monkeys
in labs pull their hair out, smear and eat their feces, and circle and pace neurotically
awaiting the next experimental procedure.
Dr. Isis Johnson
Brown, Oregons former USDA inspector, quit in frustration because her superiors
refused to support her efforts to uphold the Animal Welfare Act. She stated:
USDA inspection system is comprised of a good old boy network that
blatantly defies federal laws that, even if they were enforced, are too ineffectual
to protect the animals. More than once, I was instructed by a supervisor to make
a personal list of violations of the law, cut that list in half, and then cut
that list in half again before writing up my inspection reports. My willingness
to uphold the law during my site visits at the Primate Center led to me being
re-trained several times by higher-ups in the USDA. I recognize the
system is not set up to protect the animals but instead the financial interests
of the research labs.
inhumane care by any standardsincluding those of primate researcher Carol
Shively, who was hired by the OHSU to review their programs at ORPRC. Shively
called electro-ejaculation inhumane and criticized the lack of social
housingmore than 1,200 monkeys are housed in isolation. Dr. Shivley stated:
The consensus of the scientific
community is that these monkeys are dependent upon their social relationships
for their physical and psychological well-being.
also stated that depriving primates of social housing causes pathological behavior
such as pacing, self-aggression, and hair plucking to the point of nudity.
what happens to socially evolved animals when they are singly housed. These behaviors
are entirely preventable by providing social housing.
So what does
the Oregon Primate Center have to say in its defense? OHSU Provost Leslie Hallick
calls their Primate Center a model for the industry. If Oregon is
a model, what does that say for the other seven Regional Primate Research
Centersand all the other primate labs? Maybe that the Oregon Primate Center
demonstrates the standard neglect and inhumane treatment found nationwide.
Through local campaigns
and with the help of criticism from local media, we were able to free 22 capuchin
monkeys. They were released to zoos where they are breathing fresh air, getting
produce, feeling the sun, and, best of all, living together in groups for the
first time in more than 20 years.
grassroots action and a coalition of national advocacy groups, we can look to
the day when these horrific experiments are put to an end and all of the animals
are retired to sanctuaries. Heres some things you can do.
If you would like to start a similar campaign in your area or want to use information
and images from this campaign, please contact Matt Rossell or Leslie Hemstreet
can also write your representative (House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515)
and senators (Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510) to request a congressional
investigation into the ethical practices of all eight federally funded primate
members should contact the US Ambassador at the US Embassy in the capital city
of their country of residence.
tell them that the whole world is becoming aware of the waste of US taxpayer dollars
and the suffering of wonderful animals at the Oregon Primate Center! Let them
know that you think the public deserves access to all information about whats
going on inside Oregons publicly funded Primate Center, and that additional
oversight is necessary to improve conditions internally and eliminate ludicrous
and redundant research.