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Monday, May 27, 2024

Editorial: Primate Research Center

A report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found UC Davis guilty of violating the Animal Welfare Act for conducting experiments on an unhealthy monkey at the California National Primate Research Center.

As a result, UC Davis could face a $20,000 fine in addition to a loss of grant money. Regardless of the ethics of animal experimentation, UC Davis should have to pay a fine for its infraction.

The monkey in question was used in four separate experiments despite multiple occurrences of vomiting and self-inflicted traumatic incidents. The monkey had hair loss, a wound on its genitals and suffered from gastrointestinal problems.

In its defense, UC Davis denies the severity of the infraction and has appealed the ruling. A spokesperson for the university, Andy Fell, said that the monkey was deemed fit enough by veterinarians to enter the fourth study. The problem is that, after the fourth study began, the monkey began to injure itself. Despite receiving treatment, the monkey was ultimately euthanized. The USDA is currently reviewing the appeal.

According to USDA reports, some veterinarians at the facility questioned whether the monkey was healthy enough for the fourth study. The animal was sedated 15 times between the third and fourth study for treatment of traumatic injuries, some of which were self-inflicted.

The bottom line is, UC Davis broke the rules, and when you break the rules, you pay a penalty. Of course the university thinks that it’s innocent. How often do you see a convicted criminal agree with a judge or a penalized athlete agree with a referee? There is a reason that judges, referees and organizations like the USDA exist. Our society needs impartial third parties to enforce mutually accepted guidelines.

Sure, being punished is unpleasant. That’s the point. UC Davis should, much like a penalized athlete, stop arguing and pay up.

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