Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical Social Movement

By Harold D. Guither | Go to book overview

Appendix 4
Chronology of the Silver Spring Monkeys
Week of August 27, 1981. Alex Pacheco brought other researchers to the Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at night to inspect the monkeys and the lab facilities. They corroborated the abuses. Pacheco also shot videotape showing unsanitary lab conditions and monkeys apparently in need of veterinary care. It was that videotape, along with other evidence gathered by Pacheco, that led to a police raid.
September 11, 1981. Under a search warrant, Sgt. Richard W. Swain, Jr., seized seventeen monkeys from the IBR used by Dr. Edward Taub.
October 9, 1981. The Circuit Court of Montgomery County instructed Sergeant Swain and Dr. James Stunkard, a veterinarian, to transfer the monkeys to an NIH facility in Poolesville, Maryland, considered the best place for temporary care and custody.
November 1981. The Taub trial centered on Taub's handling of complex problems associated with deafferentation -- the severing of nerves -- in this case, to deprive limbs of sensation to simulate human stroke and spinal cord injury. Experts on the two sides of this issue disagreed as to whether the monkeys' limbs should have been bandaged.
December 2, 1981. Taub was found guilty of six of seventeen counts for cruelty to animals under Maryland law. The Montgomery County Maryland Court of Appeals found Taub guilty of one count of cruelty to animals. Although Taub was prosecuted, the bulk of the litigation focused on the fate of the monkeys. Sometime between September and December, two of the seventeen monkeys died.
December 3, 1981. When Taub was acquitted on eleven of seventeen counts, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, along with other groups and individuals, feared that the monkeys would be returned to the lab. So they filed a bill of complaint in the Maryland Circuit Court. They also felt a civil inquiry would show violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. The case was removed to the US district court.
December 17, 1981. NIH requested removal of the case to the US district court in Maryland. Within two days, IBR asked for dismissal on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. Within two weeks, NIH moved to dismiss the action for improper venue or to transfer the case to the US district court in Washington, D.C., to consolidate with two other cases. The case, Humane Society of the United States(along with PETA) v. Block, was a civil suit to force the secretary of agriculture to enforce the Animal Welfare Act against Taub and

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