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S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe
out animal experimentation"
The Oregonian News
Activists say primate center wastes money,
monkeys on repeat studies
HILLSBORO -- Animal-rights activists
have tried with little success to convince
the public that monkeys are mistreated at the Oregon Regional Primate
Research Center, so they are taking a new tack to end animal
experimentation: They are appealing to your wallet.
A cadre of activists rallied outside the Hillsboro campus Friday
carrying a report that suggests
federally funded animal experiments have wasted millions of taxpayer
dollars with redundant investigations.
Primate center officials said the duplication of research is a crucial
part of the scientific method.
Activists carried a report by Ohio animal-rights worker Michael Budkie,
who spent more than six months analyzing a database of
experiment summaries kept by the National
Institutes of Health.
Budkie's report says that federally funded animal experimentation
increased more than 37 percent over the past 10 years, including a
dramatic increase in the number of experiments that use primates,
including chimpanzees. The report says, for instance, that the NIH now
funds 450 studies on cocaine, using rats, mice and macaque monkeys.
"This comes at a time when human beings sometimes can't get treatment
in substance abuse programs because of a lack of federal funding,"
said Budkie, executive director of Stop
Animal Exploitation Now. "When we see hundreds
of millions of dollars being wasted on making drug addicts of
rats, mice and monkeys, there's something wrong with this picture."
Lisa Godwin, a spokeswoman for the primate center, said the addiction
studies cited by Budkie likely were similar experiments in the same
The NIH offered no formal comment on Budkie's findings. However,
spokesman Don Ralbovsky said scientists often duplicate experiments to
their initial assertions are correct.
Added Godwin, "You don't want one guy sitting in a laboratory with one
mouse and one microscope trying to discover the cure for
Animal-rights activist Elaine Close said that two researchers at the
primate center, competitors in the historic race to clone monkeys, had
duplicated experiments because "egos and careerism" prevented them
Senior scientist Don Wolf acknowledged in interviews with The
Oregonian last year that research was
delayed by the duplication of efforts. But
colleagues have noted that a healthy competition, despite the
occasional duplication of efforts, can speed
up scientific discovery.
"The issue here is science, not personalities," Godwin said. "Good
science depends on a very slow, careful, methodical process. And
sometimes that process involves animals that are needed to help cure
You can reach Bryan Denson at 503-294-7614 or by e-mail at
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