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What Is Virginia Commonwealth University Doing to the Animals?

A. BARTON HINKLE: ‘Last year stories about painful experiments on dogs conducted at the McGuire VA Medical Center came to light—prompting legislation at both the state and federal level… In response, Republican Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia introduced a bill to prevent the VA from conducting painful experiments on dogs, and Republican state Sen. Bill Stanley has introduced legislation to bar the use of state funds for painful and medically unnecessary animal experiments. So you can understand why Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) would not be forthcoming about what it is doing with more than three dozen non-human primates in its care. Understanding, however, is not the same as excusing.

On a form VCU submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture this past fall, the university lists 38 non-human primates “upon which experiments, teaching, research, surgery, or tests were conducted involving accompanying pain or distress to the animals and for which appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs were used.” It also lists 10 dogs, 17 guinea pigs, 242 rabbits, and 46 pigs in the same category. VCU spokesman Michael Porter says the report is “accurate and is the most current accounting of animal research at VCU.”

What sort of primates? VCU won’t say. They could be rhesus monkeys, macaques, marmosets, chimpanzees—just about anything short of a silverback gorilla. There’s much more VCU won’t say, either. For instance, it won’t say what sort of experiments the primates are being used for. At one point, a VCU web page boasted that “VCU maintains the only colony of primates physically dependent on opiates used to … evaluate the abuse potential of chemical substances.” Last month Porter said the web page “is outdated and unrelated to the report,” and had been taken down. But he wouldn’t say what the primates are being used to evaluate now’. SOURCE…


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