In his 21 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's veterinary school, Eric Sandgren has seen a lot of controversies. But the UW's most prominent defender of animal research has never seen anything like this.
Sandgren says a typical research project protocol receives around four person-hours of scrutiny from an oversight committee; he estimates this one got more than 170.
"It is the protocol that's received the most attention since I've been here," says Sandgren, director of the university's Research Animal Resources Center. "The most intense I've been a part of."
Sandgren is referring to the first experiment at UW-Madison in more than 30 years that will intentionally deprive newborn rhesus monkeys of their mothers, a practice designed to affect a primate's psychological well-being.
The research, submitted by UW-Madison Psychiatry Department chairman Dr. Ned Kalin, has drawn unusual scrutiny and dissent from within the university and intensified a debate about the extent to which benefits to humans justify the suffering of animals.