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March 31, 2008

University of Wisconsin Official Lied to Student Reporter; Ethics Violations Charged

Madison… A formal ethics complaint has been sent to Patrick Farrell, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Wisconsin Madison over false and apparently intentionally misleading public statements made by Dr. Joseph Kemnitz, director of the National Institutes of Health's Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

On March 7, 2008, the Badger Herald , a student newspaper, published statements and claims made by Dr. Kemnitz denying that his facility had entered into several written agreements with the publicly owned and operated Henry Vilas Zoo barring harmful experimentation on monkeys owned by the university and housed at the zoo:

UW Primate Center director Joe Kemnitz said UW never entered into an agreement like that because it would not make sense. "It's a biomedical research facility," Kemnitz said. "We are using taxpayers' money to research on animals to improve human health."

The statements were the result of an interview by a Badger Herald reporter with Kemnitz on the occasion of a ten-year remembrance by local animal rights activists. The written agreements in question, flatly denied by Kemnitz, are a matter of public record, the multiple violations of which resulted in nearly a year of continuous local media coverage. Dr. Kemnitz was the acting director at the time and made numerous public statements regarding the violations.

“Not only did the primate center lie to local citizens for 8 years while they secretly broke their written promises by experimenting on and selling monkeys from the zoo to be experimented on in labs around the country, but 10 years after being caught and publicly embarrassed, they are still lying about it, even to the extent of flatly denying that there ever was an agreement,” said Rick Bogle, a local activist who was present during the 1989 Vilas monkey scandal.

The complaint and supporting documents are available for review here.

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Madison's Hidden Monkeys is a joint project of the
Alliance for Animals and the
Primate Freedom Project