Oregon Health & Science University and In Defense of Animals reached agreement this week on the release of more than 113,000 pages of animal care records from the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center. The records release is the result of a previous series of court rulings, and recent discussions between OHSU and IDA.
"These records detail the day-to-day health care of our animals and illustrate the tremendous dedication of our staff to providing excellent, prompt health care and enrichment for monkeys at the Oregon National Primate Research Center," said Susan Smith, Ph.D., director of the primate center.
Over the years, OHSU sought, and won, a court ruling that helps protect the safety of primate center employees and business clients. The court also ruled on the financial costs for OHSU to review and produce the records, and the reimbursement of these costs by IDA. In the end, a complex computer sorting process was mutually agreed upon so that the records could be produced free of charge. OHSU will begin providing the documents within weeks and will pay approximately $82,000 in lawyer fees incurred by IDA.
"The records are essentially the same as a person's medical record. However, they are much more detailed because the animals live here and receive daily care," Smith said. "While almost all monkeys are perfectly healthy, some, just as with humans, have health problems. In these cases, animals receive prompt treatment by veterinarians and other well-trained staff."
The released records contain very detailed information on daily care of almost 7,000 non-human primates at the primate center between 1995 and 2002. For instance, the records include minor weight fluctuations, information about an animal's diet, any health problems and subsequent treatments throughout the animal's life, and work by the center's behavioral sciences unit to engage the monkeys and encourage behaviors similar to those found in the wild. In many cases, even the toys that each animal receives are cataloged.
"While we support IDA's right to obtain public records, we also think the public has the right to a non-biased, truthful portrayal of their contents," Smith said. "It is no coincidence that the animal rights group IDA requested these documents. IDA is the same group that employs former PETA spy Matt Rossell who made false allegations of abuse at the OHSU primate center in 2000. A two-month federal investigation later cleared the primate center, yet Rossell continues to repeat his false claims."
The Oregon National Primate Research Center has a long-record of providing excellent care to animals and following the strict guidelines of the Animal Welfare Act. The center regularly receives a clean bill of health from the United States Department of Agriculture, which enforces the AWA. In addition the primate center has an assurance of regulatory compliance on file with the National Institutes of Health. The ONPRC also participates in the voluntary accreditation program overseen by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).
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More information about the primate center records can be located at http://www.ohsu.edu/researchfacts
This Web site includes sample records and extensive information about the content of the records.
In addition, animal care experts and veterinarians who specialize in the care of non-human primates are available for interviews upon request.
Contact Jim Newman at 503 494-8231 for more information.