Ethics of non-human primate research at UW-Madison

The following question has been posed: Is experimenting on monkeys ethical?  Let’s start by considering an even more ethically stringent question: Is experimenting on humans ethical?  The answer to the latter question is, obviously, sometimes yes and sometimes no. For human subjects, how do we identify those studies that are ethical?  At UW–Madison, and nationally, this is accomplished by requiring that any proposed study be evaluated and approved by a review board before it can be started.  In other words, the decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

UW–Madison’s ‘Taj Mahal’ of eyeballs

Read and listen to the story of NPR’s visit to the Comparative Ocular Pathology Lab of Wisconsin — maybe the world’s largest library of eyeballs and eye parts, with more than 56,000 specimens from aardvark to zebra and back again.

UW–Madison statement on USDA online records access

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to ethical and humane animal research as scientific knowledge and discoveries improve the health and well-being of human and nonhuman animals. Federal regulation and the oversight of agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health are crucial to the careful conduct of that research. USDA has removed inspection and enforcement documents previously publicly available on the agency’s website. UW–Madison recognizes the privacy concerns that spurred the changes, and that freely available information can be used to mischaracterize animal research and the people who conduct that research. However, the university also sees transparency as an important aspect of the public trust that makes this vital research possible. UW–Madison remains committed to openness in animal research, to providing the public with information about animal care and the research process on our campus. At this time, we will continue to …

UW–Madison statement on animal care records

In December, the University of Wisconsin–Madison provided a set of records to Michael Budkie, an Ohio-based animal rights advocate, in accordance with Wisconsin public records law. Budkie requested all “reports of adverse events or unforeseen outcomes” involving animals in research reported to UW–Madison committees that oversee the care of animals in research and teaching from the beginning of 2015 to late August 2016. The university responded by providing relevant minutes from the committees’ meetings. As required by the federal law, UW–Madison has institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs) that include university veterinarians and researchers, as well as non-scientist members and people who are not affiliated with the university. IACUCs meet regularly to evaluate proposed research, review animal care, inspect housing and research facilities, and perform other oversight duties. The minutes of these committee meetings demonstrate the university’s robust system for monitoring and oversight of animal research — including reports …

UW–Madison statement on the USDA investigation process

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one of two federal agencies responsible for enforcement of the federal laws that regulate animal research, are reviewing the procedures and documentation for care of animals in research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. USDA veterinary medical officers visit UW–Madison and other university campuses several times a year for inspections of animal facilities and policies. Inspections at UW–Madison are often undertaken at the behest of animal rights organizations whose complaints to USDA are drawn from information UW–Madison veterinarians themselves report to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. UW–Madison’s researchers, veterinarians and staff take their work and the welfare of research animals in their care very seriously, and are working with USDA officials to supply any information they need.