Wisconsin, thanks to Madison, leads the nation in the number of nonhuman primates used in experimentation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal research, recently reported that 8,859 monkeys were used for experiments here in 2007, a 44% increase over the year before. Almost all were in Madison, with the largest share -- 7,313 -- at Covance Laboratory. The lab on Madison's northeast side also reported using 5,134 dogs, 2,639 rabbits, 863 hamsters, 332 guinea pigs, 261 pig pigs, 32 cats and no partridges in pear trees.
SAEN (Stop Animal Experimentation Now!), an Ohio-based watchdog group, says some primates used by university facilities are not reported. The group also questions the accuracy of claims that none of the monkeys used by the UW-Madison -- or anywhere in Wisconsin -- were subjected to the most severe category of pain.
"If humans were infected with AIDS, deprived of water for 16 hours, had devices bolted into their skulls or subjected to electro-ejaculation [which is pretty much what it sounds like], they would surely feel pain and/or distress," says SAEN director Michael Budkie, referring to some experiments at the UW, which reported having 1,500 monkeys on hand.