Alliance for Animals
P.O. Box 1632, Madison, Wisconsin 53701
September 8, 2010
UW Abandoned Threatened Monkeys
Nearly Two-Thirds Dead
Madison, Wisc.... The United States Department of Agriculture is scrambling to
find homes for approximately 204 primates and an additional 114 other large
animals after years of serious violations of the US Animal Welfare Act including
inadequate and improper food. Twenty-two of those monkeys are the survivors of
the large colony sent there by the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1998.
In 1998, the UW-Madison acknowledged that it had violated multiple written
agreements with Dane County not to use monkeys from the Henry Vilas Zoo in
harmful experiments. They violated the agreements one final time by sending 143
of the monkeys into terminal research at Tulane University.
The university sent 55 additional monkeys from the zoo – unwanted by any lab
because they were members of the threatened species Macaca arctoides, also
called the stump-tailed or bear macaque – to the Wild Animal Orphanage in San
Antonio along with $40,000.
In a May 6, 1998 news release, the Director Kemnitz stated that the sanctuary
met university expectations for housing the stumptails. Then Grad School Dean
Virginia Hinshaw said: “The Wild Animal Orphanage is well-equipped to deal with
small primate colonies of this nature. The sanctuary is a particularly
appropriate choice because stumptailed macaques are a threatened species.”
Senior staff at the university-hosted Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
– Director Joseph Kemnitz, head veterinarian Christine O'Rourke, and colony
manager, Kirk Boehm – became members of the Wild Animal Orphanage’s Animal
Welfare Advisory Committee.
But by 2006, the university had quietly severed its relationship with the
Now, because of the chronic severe problems at the Wild Animals Orphanage, a
USDA-created census of the remaining Vilas Zoo monkeys has become available.
“In light of the nature of the repeated problems found at the sanctuary, it is
likely that many of the missing 33 Vilas monkeys died of malnutrition, lack of
medical care, exposure, or some combination of those problems,” said Rick Bogle,
Co-Director of the Madison-based Alliance for Animals, the organization
responsible for originally exposing the university’s violations in 1997.
“The university made a big deal about caring for the monkeys after if couldn’t
find a lab that wanted them. They seem to have turned their back on them. The
monkeys deserve to be cared for; it is the university’s responsibility to make
sure that funds are available to comfortably house and adequately feed the
remaining animals. They owe it to the citizens who were told that the monkeys
would be well cared for, and they owe it to the monkeys,” said Bogle.
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