|The above link will enable you to create your own personal
letter citing state open records laws.
Oregon has been more responsive to requests using state open
records requests than to requests under the federal Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA).
Federal facilities, such as the National Institutes of Health's Alamogordo
Primate Facility, will likely respond only to a FOIA request.
Some labs, such as the Tulane, New England, and Yerkes Regional
Primate Research Center, have refused to comply with any requests
for information on specific animals whatsoever.
Below is a generic FOIA letter and a follow up letter for
use if and when your initial request is ignored:
Dear Freedom of Information Act Officer:
Pursuant to the Federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C.
552, I request copies of documents containing the following
information: all laboratory reports, protocols, daily care
logs, veterinary reports, photographs, videotapes, and any
and all other records referring to ________ [primate's name
or other identifying information].
In order to help to determine my status for purposes of determining
the applicability of any fees, you should know that I am an
individual seeking information for personal use and not for
commercial use. However, I request a waiver of all fees for
this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me
is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute
significantly to public understanding of the operations or
activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial
I will share this information with the Primate Freedom Project
(PFP). PFP is a tax-exempt nonprofit public interest organization.
PFP actively informs the public about the use of primates
in federally funded biomedical research. Through publications,
commentary to the press, sponsorship of educational programs
and events, and the development of an institutional expertise
regarding primate experimentation, PFP has become very involved
in raising public awareness concerning this issue.
The use of live animals in research has historically been
a matter of wide public interest. The requested documents
will illuminate in a clear and direct way the operations and
activities of _______ [facility name] pertaining to its use
of primates as biomedical test subjects. As such, release
of these documents will significantly contribute to public
understanding and oversight of this facility’s operations,
particularly regarding the quality and efficacy of this facility’s
activities in this area.
PFP will analyze the information presented in the released
documents and together with their affiliated experts, including
veterinarians and medical doctors, will produce a report as
part of their ongoing review of federally supported primate
research. The report and any photographs will be published
on PFP web sites as well as disseminated to the media as a
component of the active involvement in informing the public
on this issue. Portions will also be included in printed brochures
distributed free to the public as part of an educational campaign.
Any suitable video will be aired on community access television
networks and shown at public events. These materials will
not be used for commercial purposes or gain.
This request is not meant to be exclusive of any other records
which, though not specifically requested, would have a reasonable
relationship to the subject matter of this request.
In the event that access to any of the requested records
is denied, please note that the FOIA provides that if portions
of a requested file are exempted from release, the remainder
must still be released. I therefore request that I be provided
with all non-exempt portions which are reasonably segregable.
I further request that you describe the deleted material in
detail and specify the statutory basis for the denial as well
as your reasons for believing that the alleged statutory justification
applies in this instance. Please separately state your reasons
for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the
requested documents in the public interest. Such statements
will be helpful in deciding whether to appeal an adverse determination,
and in formulating arguments in case an appeal is taken. This
written justification might also help to avoid litigation.
I reserve my right to appeal the withholding or deletion of
any information and expect that you will list the office and
address where such an appeal can be sent.
I anticipate, however, that you will make the requested materials
available within the statutorily prescribed period. I also
request that you waive any applicable fees since disclosure
meets the statutory standard for waiver of fees in that it
is clearly “in the public interest because furnishing
the information can be considered as primarily benefiting
the general public,” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A).
In this regard, I reiterate that I have no intention of using
the information disclosed for financial gain. If for some
reason the fee waiver request is denied, while reserving my
right to appeal such a decision, I am willing to pay $_______
[amount] to cover costs of document search and duplication.
If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please
inform me first.
Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to your reply
within 20 business days as required. Failure to respond in
a timely manner shall be viewed as a denial of this request
and the requester may immediately file an administrative appeal.
If you have any questions, please contact me by email or phone.