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Thursday, February 9, 2006

Animal activists target UW

Posted by on February 9 at 18:04 PM

A group that crusades against unethical animal research is accusing the University of Washington of abusing the primates in its medical laboratories.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) leaked documents on its website that purport to be UW’s filing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which monitors animal research. Those documents suggest that the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved 44 exceptions to the usual standards for treatment of lab animals.

SAEN executive director Michael Budkie says that list of exceptions is “the largest I’ve ever seen.”

Macacas, which are small monkeys, allegedly were implanted with eye coils and “head-stabilizing acrylic lugs.” Researchers allegedly drilled tiny holes into Macacas’ skulls and performed surgeries such as laminectomies (involving the removal of an arch of a vertebra), and laparotomies (involving examination of internal organs).

Budkie said the USDA “accidentally” published the documents online. A spokesman for UW, Craig Degginger, withheld comment until he could examine the documents himself.