Reductions in Numbers of Some Animals Used in So-Called Research at UCSF

May 6, 2005

vigilforanimals@yahoo.com

According to annual research reports from UCSF, there have been substantial reductions in the (ab)use of some animals at the university over the past four years. Reductions were noted for hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, pigs and sheep. Even greater reductions in their numbers were noted over the past twenty years.

From a recent review I made of UCSF's annual research reports to the USDA, I have noted substantial reductions in the (ab)use of certain species of animals at UCSF over the past four years. The reductions were noted for hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, pigs and sheep - whose numbers fell substantially from year 2000 to 2004. And if one were to go all the way back to 1984, one would see even more dramatic reductions in their numbers.

Following are the figures for the animals mentioned above for years 1984, 2000 and 2004.

----------------------Year..............Year..............Year

----------------------1984..............2000..............2004

Hamsters......16,618.............1,930...............451

Guinea Pigs....2,542...............246.................67

Rabbits...........4,919.............1,020..............364

Pigs..................***.................445...............184

Sheep...............***.................210...............100

*** No number reported for year 1984.

However, the numbers of monkeys, cats and dogs exploited in research at UCSF show no significant change in recent years. Researchers' (ab)use of monkeys has averaged around 200 monkeys per year for the last 4 years, cats just under 90 per year, and use of dogs has fluctuated between a low of 35 and a high of 71 per year in that time span. However, the number of dogs will increase dramatically if the two projects (re congestive heart failure) of Dr. Jeffrey Olgin continue. The combined number of dogs for his projects will total about 750 dogs over the next 3 years.

Following are the figures for monkeys, cats and dogs for years 1984, 2000 and 2004:

---------------------------Year..............Year..............Year

---------------------------1984..............2000..............2004

Monkeys...............206................212...............200

Cats.....................526..................93.................85

Dogs..................1,688..................68.................49

Could advocates for animals have had an influence on the decreases in some animals' numbers? I don't know, but I'd like to think so. On the other hand, statistics can be misleading - or incomplete. For example, UCSF, according to its annual research report of 1984, (ab)used 32,009 rats and 71,503 mice in God knows how many insane projects. Yet now the university does not have to report the numbers of mice and rats it uses - and hasn't had to report these numbers since 1999 (I think), since the law was changed back around then. And numbers of birds and fish (ab)used have never been required to be reported. So, again God only knows how many numbers of birds and fish and frogs and mice and rats are being harmed and killed at UCSF - and other research institutes across the country.

Anyhow, I guess we really don't have much reason to celebrate at this point. Yet I say we keep up the pressure - keep the numbers going down - not up (as with the dogs). Then maybe someday we can really celebrate when the number is zero. I may not be around when that day comes, yet I am unequivocal that our position will prevail.