The University of Washington prides itself on being a top-tier scientific institution, but unfortunately it is anything but when it comes to how they treat animals, and the types of experiments they allow to be conducted on the animals imprisoned at the University of Washington.

As of 2019 (according to the Annual Report filed with the USDA), there are:

– 540 Non-human primates (mostly macaques).  There are another 513 non-human primates being held in a breeding facility in Arizona.

 – 23 dogs being kept for breeding purposes, 18 dogs being used for research purposes.  All of these animals are kept in cages and do not have access to the outdoors.

 – 164 ferrets being used for research, and 109 ferrets being used for breeding purposes.

 

According to the Animal Welfare Act , all research done on “covered species” (meaning animals covered by the Animal Welfare Act) is supposed to be overseen and monitored by a Committee known as the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC for short).  Among other things, the IACUC is responsible for addressing animal welfare concerns and for reviewing and approving “animal use” protocols (research studies that use non-human animals).

The IACUC at the University of Washington (https://oaw.uw.edu/iacuc/) has instead acted like a rubber stamp, never seeing a research study that used non-human animals that they didn’t approve of, no matter how heinous the experiment.  

In the UW’s Semi-Annual Report of program review, the UW’s research programs had 58 protocols with prolonged restraint (bats, birds, fish, mice, pigs, non-human primates, wild mammals).  There were repeated instances of mice and rats dying due to lack of access to food or water. This type of neglect has been happening for years.  Yet the committee in charge of overseeing and monitoring animal research at the UW (the IACUC) has done next to nothing about it.

When animals have died due to negligence, they have neglected to look into why it happened, instead electing to send a letter to the researcher and request that staff be retrained.  Those in charge of labs and research facilities are never held accountable. 

The monkeys at the University of Washington in Seattle are largely kept in an underground facility.  They have no access to natural light or fresh air.  Despite being newly built, the lights regularly malfunction, and there are many unaddressed facility repairs. 

These monkeys are subjected to a variety of horrendous experiments, from having coils stuck in their eyes to measure eye movement, to having apparatuses bolted into their skull (so brain activity can be monitored), to undergoing surgery so heart attacks can be induced, to being forced to give birth to infants whose oxygen is cut off, so the experimenters can try to repair the inevitable brain damage with cold therapy. In a misguided attempt to find cures for HIV (human immunodeficiency viruses), hundreds of the monkeys are infected with SIV (Simian immunodeficiency virus), a immunodeficiency virus that does not process in monkeys the same way that HIV progress in human primate.  Some monkeys with SIV do not develop chronic immune activation.  Non-human primates cannot get HIV, and despite decades of infecting monkeys with SIV, the University has not come up with any new treatments for HIV.  Yet taxpayer money from the NIH continues to fund these experiments.

Here are some more detailed examples of the types of research conducted at the UW: 

Since 1978, one researcher – Eberhard Fetz – has been bolting apparatuses onto the heads of macaques and implanting computer chips in their brains, and severing their spinal cords in an attempt to see if the monkeys can move their deliberating paralyzed limbs using only neutral signals.  They have already used this technology on human primates (with a low degree of success).  Why do they continue to torture these monkeys?  When the monkeys have head apparatuses implanted, they are kept alone in cages so the implant isn’t damaged by another monkey or torn out.  They spend their lives alone.  Yet this research has been continually funded by the NIH to a tune of at least $14,679,419 since 2020.

In order to research how traumatic brain injury impacts learning and behaviors, researchers took young ferrets and gave them several measured blows to the skull in order to induce traumatic brain injury.  Before and after these measured blows to the head, the ferrets were made to run a maze.  Their ability to navigate the maze was measured before the deliberate head injury was compared to how they did after their skulls were hit. The study was finally halted after a year when the researchers determined that ferrets did not make good animal models for studying traumatic brain injury and behavior.  The same kind of study was previously done to rats.

In order to study how information in the hippocampus is structured and processed, a researcher named Elizabeth Buffalo is implanting devices onto the skulls of monkeys in order to record activity in their hippocampus while the monkeys perform spatial memory tasks in virtual reality.  They will also stimulate the monkey’s hippocampus in order to see what that does.  Since these monkeys have a device bolted into their skull, they are housed alone with no mates.  This kind of research is far from life saving, rather it is simply the human hubris of seeing what happens to a monkey’s brain when you shock them. 

Associate Professor David Mack & Jeffery Chamberlain has been purchasing dogs that are bred to have muscle wasting diseases in order to study how well gene therapy can treat diseases like Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.  Both researchers have previously done the same to rats with little to no positive outcome.  Purposely breeding animals to have devastating diseases seems unethical, but it is routine practice for those engaged in vivisection.

If the University of Washington was truly interested in saving human lives, they would invest more time and energy into studying how to ensure access to clean drinking water, addressing health disparities and the causes of cancers rather than simply breeding more animals with a specific kind of cancers so the symptoms can be treated.