Watchdog Group Files Complaint Against UW for Primate Abuse and Deaths, Calls for Fine for Federal Law Violations

13 Jun

A national research watchdog organization has completed a major investigation of the University of Washington, Seattle, and has filed an Official Complaint with the USDA noting numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) noted that federal law violations include multiple primate escapes, severe animal debilitation, severe limb contracture with skin ulcers, and deaths.

The SAEN investigation uncovered nine primate escapes including one where two escaping primates fought and injured each other requiring euthanasia for one of the monkeys. Nine primates were listed as emaciated or severely debilitated, three primates suffered from severe limb contracture and skin ulcers. Another primate had “linear crush” injuries, requiring amputations.

Overall, the SAEN complaint involves potentially dozens of federal violations connected to at least 22 primates in a period of roughly one year.

“The staff and researchers at the UW appear to be drastically unqualified, substantially inept, and unable to follow even the most basic requirements of animal husbandry,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN. “Not only is the UW unable to keep the monkeys in the cages, they are unable to prevent serious injuries during the escapes, some of which required euthanasia.”

View the official complaint as well as the UW records which were uncovered detailing their abuses in this PDF file.

National Primate Liberation Week 2012

18 Sep
This is a special week where vegans, activists, advocacy organizations, and those who speak up for animals will come together to work towards the liberation of primates from laboratories. Join us all week with the Northwest Animal Rights Network, Action For Animals, and the Seattle Animal Defense League for educational, social, and political action events (details will be announced as plans are finalized):
Sunday Oct 7th: Kick-Off Info Event and Letter Writing Party. We’ll have information about primates in labs here in the NW, a guest speaker, and materials for everyone to write to UW leadership and the press. (U-District)
Monday Oct 8: Movie Screening and guest speaker. Free event at local vegan theater. Learn more about animal testing and experiments. (Capitol Hill)
Thursday Oct 11: Protest and Demonstration at the University of Washington. Open to the public and all UW students are encouraged to attend. Signs and literature will be provided. Meet at noon (12 pm) in Red Square outside of Gerberding Hall.
All Week: Seattle’s favorite bar, Highline, will have both alcoholic and sXe drink specials all with proceeds going to SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation Now).
All Week: Special T-Shirt Drawing. The Northwest Animal Rights Network has a very special vintage 80s ALF Celebration T-shirt. For each event you attend, or letter you write, you’ll be entered into the drawing. At the end of the, someone will get a very unique and rare animal liberation t-shirt. More details available soon.
There are many other ways to get involved during this week. We need volunteers to help poster, work at the events, and otherwise promote this important week. Please email if you have questions.

New Photos Inside UW Primate Lab

29 Aug

Primates, cooped up in tiny cages, with few, if any, objects inside to distract them from the long hours of boredom. This is what new photos reveal that were taken inside of a primate research facility operated by the University of Washington. They were obtained by Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) and passed along to the public. It is rare that the public gets to see inside an animal research laboratory, or even that they exist in their neighborhood (the main facility used for experimentation on primates is an unmarked blue building nestled downtown across from the Seattle Art Museum’s sculpture park).

Their lengthy periods of visible boredom are broken only by painful procedures and operations that they are subjected to on a routine basis. They will never get to experience things that nature intended them to, such as fresh breezes, grass beneath their feet, playing in tree branches, or living with friends and family. Instead they live in what is their prison.

Protest UW Crimes Against Primates This Summer

14 Jun

Please join us as we, concerned citizens of Seattle and surrounding areas, protest against the University of Washington’s continued use and abuse of primates at their notorious Blue Building facility this summer.

From July 5th to Labor Day
every Thursday 5-7 pm
at the “Blue Building” at 3010 Western Ave
directly across from SAM Sculpture Park

Hidden inside this dark, unmarked, sunless building, 700 primates live and die for research, subjected to painful surgeries and traumatic procedures until their usefulness is over.  The Blue Building at 3010 Western Ave is the main facility for the UW National Primate Research Center, the largest of eight across  the country.   For almost 50 years, UW primates have endured injuries, abuse from incompetent staff, prolonged restraint, starvation, filthy cells, isolation, light deprivation, intense physical pain without medication, psychological intimidation, reproductive mutilation, numerous Animal Welfare violations, and repetitive experiments with no application to human health.

For further information please contact

New Information from UW Documents Detail Further Primate Abuse

5 Jun

Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), a national organization that monitors animal laboratories, has recently released information contained in documents and photos that were obtained from the University of Washington, Seattle.  These photos and documents paint a vivid picture of the harsh reality daily inflicted on primates within this lab without even delving into gruesome experimental procedures.  Barren captivity, severe illnesses, and staff incompetence exact a heavy toll on these primates.

The bungling staff of UW is incapable of even doing simple things like making sure the primates are actually in their enclosures.  Within sixteen months, seven primates escaped from their enclosures, injuring either themselves or other primates in the process.  How many more primate escapes went undocumented?

According to UW primate health care records, many other animals were negligently injured.  On 2/27/11 Primate J97270 was injured because “AT reported injury to animal.  Animal grabbed scissors from AT” (AT may mean Animal Technician).  On 4/5/11 Primate K11027, an infant experiencing thermoregulation issues, is listed with “what looks to be burn trauma of the D5 of the left foot” after an external heat treatment.

Unfortunately, this insanity doesn’t stop here — UW documents are riddled with many more episodes of ineptitude.   On 1/20/11 Primate A07005 was not properly prepped for surgery:  “Veterinarian cancelled surgery as the animal appears to have had access to food.  . . .  Animal vomited large quantity of partially digested food and extubated itself.”   On 4/14/10 a botched surgical procedure occurred when a “1mm probe inadvertently penetrated brain tissue.”  Primate R08004 was simply found dead with “severe edema and swelling of head . . . Ingesta present in mouth and a few drops of blood noted on nose.”  Primate A07121 was euthanized because “During a routine blood draw, it was discovered that the animal had a fractured right femur.”  Apparently, the incompetent UW staff had failed to even notice a major broken bone.

Non-procedural injuries at UW are rampant, too.  In 2010, two traumatic incidents led to the amputation of eight inches from the tails of two UW primates.  On 4/3/11 the tips of several fingers on the left hand of Primate A06077 were avulsed (forcibly detached) exposing bone.  Primate K03150 is listed with two lacerations, a 5 cm injury and an older 10 cm injury.  By no means are these the only animals with traumatic injuries; the full list would roll on for several pages.

Not only does UW staff regularly violate federal animal welfare law, they also regularly violate their own internal animal care policy.  Illnesses frequently cause weight loss, but major weight loss indicates severe suffering and should never be allowed.  UW’s policy regarding “Permissible Weight Loss” states:  “The upper limit of acceptable weight loss in animals on experimental regimens shall be 20%.”  A 20% weight loss is excessive – comparable to a 150 pound human losing 30 pounds.  In violation of UW’s own policy, Primate J04245 lost “over 25%” of his body weight.  Similarly, Primate A06014 also had a major loss of weight:  “The animal has had a dermatological condition intermittently since ’07.  Recently, there has been a >20% body weight loss, and the dermatologic condition has been recurring.”  Primate A02006 also experienced major weight loss noted as “The animal eventually developed >25% body weight loss . . . .”  Primate 01134 suffered “approximately 30% weight loss” – now our 150 pound person is up to a 45 pound weight loss!  Primate 04044 is only noted as enduring a “profound weight loss” – one can only imagine what percentage profound means.  A human, or a primate, who losses this much weight would look like a walking skeleton, like a concentration camp victim.

All of these incidents of negligence and trauma paint a grueling picture that is almost too bizarre to be believed, if it weren’t based on the UW’s own records!  Primates regularly escape from their enclosures.  They are allowed access to scissors.  Traumatic injuries requiring amputation of major body parts are common.  And many primates are allowed to become so severely emaciated that they resemble walking skeletons.

Take Action Against the University of Washington:

1.  Contact Dr. Robert Gibbens to demand immediate action against the University of Washington,   Seattle. The criminal acts of this lab must be severely punished!

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region
2150 Center Ave
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

(970) 494-7478

2.  Contact the President of the University of Washington, Michael K. Young, to demand that all abuse of primates at this criminal lab be terminated immediately. 

Michael K. Young
Office of the President
University of Washington
301 Gerberding Hall
Box 351230
Seattle, WA 98195

(206) 543-5010

3. Support the campaigns by local groups to end the abuse of animals in labs in this area, such as the Northwest Animal Rights Organization, Seattle Animal Defense League, and Action for Animals.

World Week for Animals in Laboratories 2012

10 Apr

a photo taken inside a University of Washington animal laboratory

For one week in April of every year, animal activists and advocates in multiple countries organize together for World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL) to highlight the archaic and wasteful use of animals in biomedical research. Here in Seattle, the Seattle Animal Defense League, Action for Animals, and the Northwest Animal Rights Network have coordinated events; we encourage everyone to participate. Details are still being worked out, but they will be updated here as they are finalized.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21st (evening)
WWAIL kickoff!
Join us at a delicious vegan potluck where we will watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Following the movie we will have a brief discussion about the realities of life for animals in laboratories.
5615 12th Ave NE
(Facebook event page, RSVP and post dish you plan to bring)

Demonstration at SNBL USA
3:00-5:00 pm
6605 Merrill Creek Parkway
Everett, WA
(Facebook event page)

Demonstration at UW Infant Primate Research Lab
3:00-6:00 PM
Corner of NE Pacific St and Montlake Blvd

Outreach at the University of Washington
11:00 am-12:30 pm
Pedestrian Overpass, NE 40th and NE 15th

Demonstration at UW
11:30 am-1:00 pm
1705 NE Pacific St.


Please join us in speaking up for laboratory animals and help spread the word!

Victory for Ferrets at UW

21 Mar

After being pressured from a campaign against the use of ferrets in pediatrics training, the University of Washington has now said that it has replaced the use of ferrets with human-based medical simulators to teach future pediatricians.

This change is the result of a campaign by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), with work on the ground by the Seattle Animal Defense League (SADL), as well as support by members of other local animal advocacy groups and activists, and the willingness of UW to adopt current best practices. This could not have been done without the tens of thousands of supporters from PCRM, SADL, the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN) , and others who flooded UW administrators with e-mails and written petitions over the past year encouraging the school to take this progressive step. And UW finally listened!

A UW spokesperson stated that instead of ferrets “tetherless simulators are being employed at the point-of-care at the bedside to simulate resuscitations and enhance teamwork among healthcare providers,” and that “simulation will be a more cost-effective way to train intubation techniques.”

Ferrets used in endotracheal intubation training at UW suffered through multiple intubations and were used for several sessions. Also, some of the animals used were later killed. Fortunately, the school has now joined the 95 percent of pediatrics residency programs in the United States that view nonanimal methods as not only more humane but educationally superior.

While this is indeed good news for ferrets, much more work needs to be done for the thousands upon thousands of other aniamls currently being used by the UW for research. Let us use this victory as a springboard to get more positive results for others.

UW’s Lies About Killing Animals Exposed

15 Nov

Earlier this year, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), along with the Northwest Animal Rights Network and the Seattle Animal Defense League, called upon the University of Washington to end the use of live ferrets in their pediatrics residency training. Since then, over 20,000 supporters have emailed the UW, and other supporters attended a visible demonstration in front of the UW Medicine building, which garnered media coverage. We’ve got their attention, but now there’s more to the story.

Documents that have been obtained through Washington’s public records law reveal that there is more going on at UW than previously expected. The PCRM discovered that the UW was telling the public one thing, while the opposite was true. The PCRM place an ad in the school’s student newspaper, alerting students and faculty that UW has been lying about killing animals.

A faculty member at UW told the Seattle Times earlier this year that the school had stopped killing rabbits for chest tube placement training, but the documents that PCRM obtained prove otherwise. UW has also claimed that the ferrets used in pediatrics residency training are adopted out, but documents reveal that numerous ferrets have been killed in the past three years.

The lying doesn’t stop there. UW has told the public that the use of ferrets in endotracheal intubation training is necessary, but according to internal communications the head of newborn medicine reportedly stated that the use of ferrets will end “because we can’t prove that they are any better than a training manikin.”

But this really shouldn’t come as a surprise as the UW has been investigated, cited, and fined over numerous violations in their animal-based medical and research programs. For the UW, this is par for the course. Please let the UW administrators know that lying to the public is unacceptable, and that they should end the use of animals.

PCRM ad in the UW's student newspaper, The Daily

UW Fined for Monkey Deaths in Primate Research Lab

19 Oct

Transcript of the October 18, 2011 news broadcast on Q13 FOX


Every year, tens of thousands of monkeys are used as test subjects in labs around the country.

Schools defend such experiments as essential to the advancement of medicine. The Department of Agriculture conducts annual spot inspections of these facilities and can step in when problems are identified.

In the past five years at the University of Washington’s Primate Research Center one monkey died of malnutrition, two more were found to be kept in cages that were too small and one scientist was fined for performing an excessive number of surgeries on the same animals. The incidents were uncovered after an anonymous complaint led to a USDA investigation.

“They finally got along to levying a fine which is $10,000 and the University gets millions of dollars in research money, so this is just a little drop in their bucket,” said Rachel Bjork with Northwest Animal Rights Network. “They like to say they are doing ground breaking research. They like to say they’re saving lives but I’m trying to understand the connection between sticking coils in a monkey’s eyes and saving a human life.”

The University released a statement responding:

“The University of Washington takes great care to ensure that their animals are healthy and well-maintained. Any time there is an unexpected death of a research animal, the UW reports the incident to the USDA and provides full disclosure. Our goal is to provide advances in medical care and treatment. The USDA recently visited the UW and found no deficiencies in its animal care program.”

The USDA is also investigating Oregon Health Science University’s primate research center, and has levied similar fines against Harvard Medical School, Vanderbilt and Princeton for violations that led to animal deaths.

“To do this research, it’s wasteful and the fact of what they’re doing to these animals should be criminal,” said Bjork.

The University of Washington paid a $10,893 fine in April 2011. The USDA says if repeat violations are found in future inspections, the University could face steeper penalties.

Original story with video

Demonstration to End Use of Ferrets by UW Medicine

20 Sep

Last February, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, explaining that the University of Washington (UW) is violating the federal Animal Welfare Act by using live ferrets in its pediatrics residency program. In the pediatrics residency program at the UW breathing tubes are pushed down the throats of live ferrets to teach endotracheal intubation. This painful procedure is repeated numerous times on each animal and can cause tracheal bruising and bleeding. Non-animal training methods exist, making this use of animals not only cruel but completely unnecessary.

The SimNewB, manufactured by the Norwegian firm Laerdal and developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, simulates newborn babies, and the Gaumard PREMIE Blue Simulator is designed to mimic the air way of a premature newborn. UW’s state-of-the-art Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS) owns SimNewB simulators. Both of these simulators are appropriate alternatives to using live ferrets for endotracheal intubation training.

More than 85 percent of pediatrics residency programs in the United States do not use animals. It is time for UW to join the majority. So far, responsible UW faculty and administrators have ignored pleas to change this practice. So now, the PCRM, in cooperation with the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN) and the Seattle Animal Defense League (SADL), is taking this message to the school’s front door.

Please join us for a demonstration to let the University of Washington know that its use of live ferrets for pediatrics residency training is cruel and unacceptable.

Thursday, October 6 10:30am – 12:00pm
1959 N.E. Pacific St. near the main entrance of the University of Washington Medical Center

Please also e-mail, write, and/or call UW School of Medicine dean Paul G. Ramsey, M.D and ask him to replace the use of animals in its pediatrics residency program.

Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
Dean, University of Washington School of Medicine
1959 NE Pacific St.
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-543-7718