University of Kansas Medical Center has become known for violating the Animal
note: Please call and email the parties detailed at the end of the article
to help end the nightmare that KU Med has manufactured for its primate "patients."]
to the annual report filed with the USDA by the University of Kansas Medical
Center, this facility experiments on and/or holds captive about 150 primates
per year, a relatively small amount. The report which contains this statistic
is a bland one page document which belies the cruel reality that it represents.
of the lives of these animals is represented by a stack of documents which
is just over a foot tall. The existence of these highly intelligent animals
has been reduced to so much paper and ink. Their identities represented
only by numbers, their passing marked only by the word “euthanized.”
University of Kansas Medical Center has become known for violating the Animal
Welfare Act. In fact, recent inspections for the period from September 2007
to June of 2009 catalogue 58 pages of violations, many of which involve
primates and their deaths. The USDA inspectors who wrote these documents
uncovered heinous acts of cruelty which prolonged the pain these animals
endured. One monkey was allowed to deteriorate so severely that his/her
weight dropped by 26.8%, or just over ¼. Another primate, whose skull
had been opened to have a recording chamber put into place, did not receive
anything close to adequate treatment. These recording chambers can harbor
serious bacterial infections which can lead to brain abscesses, and so they
are supposed to be cleaned regularly. The chamber of one animal at this
facility had not been cleaned for three weeks. It is amazing that s/he was
monkey who died during 2008, #0A0, lost 22% of his body weight, which should
have been sufficient to qualify for euthanasia. However, the suffering of
this animal was allowed to continue. The USDA report states: “He was
sitting curled up on his perch while I was hosing his cage and would make
a screeching sound. I gave him a cereal bar, but he was having difficulty
picking it up. …
very feeble, he can’t stand on his legs; he scoots. His hand-eye coordination
is very bad; he has a pronounced tremble in his hands and has to try several
times to grab things. He is doing a lot of grimacing and makes a horrible
screeching/chirping noise. … I know he is scheduled for tomorrow,
but I am not sure he will make it that long.”
hard to believe that after being cited for such a cruel death that this
facility would not alter protocols and procedures to prevent further deaths
of this nature from taking place. Apparently this is not the case. Two other
primates suffered fates very similar to #0A0 one year later.
records from the University of Kansas Medical Center reveal that a rhesus
monkey, #3A5, endured terrible pain on 8/4/2009: “increased agitation
and stress from morphine withdrawal.” Other observations from the
same day reveal continued agony: “Patient is agitated and vocalizing
more. Appears to be more aggressive and keeps moving from perch to floor
and back. … Patient is screeching very loudly when moving and grimacing
a lot. Muscle tremors noted along with lying down in cage. … P.M.
(8:00): Severe muscle tremors noted to the point that animal could not control
his right leg and started to bite it; no lacerations or punctures noted.”
next day he is described as: “… similar to last night, severe
muscle tremors when moving, a little ataxia with grimacing and screeching.
… Noon: Patient is doing better, significant tremors still noted,
but screeching has decreased, appetite and fluid consumption is good. Face
is a little flushed as well as mildly swollen on the right side. Afternoon/evening:
Patient is very aggressive. … Only about 20% of the Gatorade is gone
from the a.m. Face is still flushed with possible hives.” On the following
day, his torture continues unabated: “P.M. observation: Patient is
having increased muscle tremors of legs and arms, will try and bite at feet
if a large tremor occurs. No puncture wounds or lacerations noted on feet
record for 8/21/2009 shows that the monkey’s ordeal has continued
for seventeen days: “patient with vomit in cage yesterday afternoon
and this a.m.” On 8/25/2009, his record states, “Vomit all over
cage and floor in front of cage. Food left in cage. … Right testicle
is enlarged and left testicle is very small. Monkey is reserved today and
will get up on perch only when approached.” On the next day: “his
testicles are swollen, enlarged and scrotum has purplish hue. His eyes are
sunken area around eyes are puffy and his pupils are dilated. He appears
to be in pain from swollen scrotum. He will only move off of floor of cage
with a lot of stimulation. … PI is consulting … about options.”
By the 27th of August he has deteriorated even further: “Monkey is
very subdued and curled up on perch—will only move when stimulated
a lot. Eyes are shrunken and dilated. Hair coat is spiked. Testicles are
swollen, hard, and scrotum has purplish hue. Monkey did eat his biscuits,
but it appeared that he vomited overnight.” #3A5 was apparently killed
that day because a necropsy was performed.
the life of #3A5 was not unique. Another male rhesus monkey, #84Z, suffered
in a very similar fate, at about the same time. On 8/4/2009 primate 84Z
is: “… screeching a lot, grimacing noted as well. Patient is
lying [sic] down in the bottom of the cage and will only move when stimulated.
Muscle tremors noted. Appetite is decreased—no biscuits eaten, but
has eaten fruit. … Evening obs (8P.M.): Patient is down in the bottom
of the cage laying [sic] on his side, will move when stimulated, but very
reluctant. Screeching is excessive and grimacing noted whenever moving;
mild muscle tremors noted. Appetite is still decreased, has eaten some of
the fruit provided, but no biscuits. He has not touched the Gatorade.”
misery continues the next day: “A.M. observations: patient is very
reluctant to move on stimulation. Once he got up, he screeched once and
then fell back over. Moderate muscle tremors noted. Appetite is severely
decreased; a couple of biscuits eaten and some fruit. P.M. observation:
Patient is sitting up on the floor, but reluctant to move, even when squeeze
was used. No screeching noted, but muscle tremors are present and significant.”
third day, his nightmare ends: “A.M. Observation: Patient is sitting
up this a.m., but still reluctant to move. Face is very red, but screeching
was not noted this a.m. Appetite is still decreased with only a small amount
of fruit eaten; no biscuits. Noon: Patient is down in cage and not responding
to stimulation. Notify PI and continue supportive care. Afternoon:
PI gave one does of morphine to try and offset withdrawal signs; no progress.
Patient is down and only minimally responsive. 10:00 p.m.: Patient is euthanized
per PI protocol.”
symptoms described in these animals are at least partially due to withdrawal
from morphine. They may have been subjected to other procedures which could
have added to the seriousness of their condition. However, the issue here—the
problem—is tolerance. During the process of addicting these animals
to morphine, they develop a tolerance to the drug, just as humans do. And
so, when their bodies tolerate the drug, when they have developed a physical
addiction to the drug, when we have forced morphine to become one of the
defining characteristics of their existence, we take it away from them,
precipitated crash withdrawal – which can be fatal.
animals whom have been discussed here are not the only ones who suffer inside
the University of Kansas Medical Center. The majority of these captives
are described during at least one point of time as losing hair, due to over-grooming.
They also often exhibit other abnormal behavior such as circling, pacing,
etc. They were not designed to tolerate living in stainless steel cages.
Several animals are listed as dying of dehydration.
read these documents, I also reach a point of tolerance. I can only psychologically
handle so much. Monkeys vomiting all over their cages, too weak to move
off the floor onto their perches, suffering from such severe tremors that
they can only respond by attacking their own limbs.
becomes too much to bear, and I have to walk away. But the real question
is, why do we, as a society, tolerate this? Even if we put aside the idea
of how difficult it is to generalize from highly stressed psychologically
abnormal macaque monkeys to human beings, even if there was some wonder
cure to be found, don’t we reach a point, isn’t there a level
at which it is just plain wrong? How much suffering are we willing to inflict
on other animals, in the quest for a drug, vaccine, or treatment that might
work? How utterly self-important are we?
there a point where the potential benefits become irrelevant? Can’t
we agree that some things are just too wrong, too painful, too difficult
even to read—let alone experience—that they should never ever
be allowed to happen? The question is, how can we, as a supposedly enlightened
society, tolerate this?
will not say that some things—no matter what they might bring, are
wrong—then we should be honest with ourselves and abolish all laws
governing the way that animals are treated in labs. If anything goes, then
we should remove the restrictions that we have put in place solely to give
our consciences ground upon which to stand. Remove the smoke and mirrors
we have put in place to assuage our guilt. Rip away the curtain. Take a
good hard look at what we are willing to do. These are the facts and we
had better be able to live with ourselves.
and I sincerely hope that this is true, if we as a species are willing to
say that there are limits which should never ever be crossed, then we must
go down a different road. If we actually believe that some things are simply
wrong and can never be right, no matter what, then we must make radical
changes about the way animals are treated in laboratories.
things simply should not be tolerated. Human beings should not perform them,
animals should not endure them, and people who care deeply about animals
should not have to read them.
Barbara Atkinson, KU Med’s Executive Vice Chancellor, and tell her
that what KU Med is doing to primates is wrong and to stop wasting our tax
money on cruelty and fraudulent science! She is at (913) 588-1440 and BATKINSON@kumc.edu.
Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health (KU Med’s
source of funding) at 301-496-2433 and firstname.lastname@example.org and tell
him to stop providing public monies to a “research facility”
that was cited for 160 violations of animal welfare laws by the USDA!
periodic updates from Thomas Paine’s Corner (TPC) and Bite Club of
KC (TPC’s “on the street” sister blog), send a request
By Michael Budkie
Simulposted with SAEN