Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

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Letter of Complaint to USDA About Harvard Medical School - 15 Aug 2011



Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer 8/15/11
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000
Raleigh, NC 27606

Dr. Goldentyer,

I am writing to you today to file an Official Complaint against the Harvard Medical School (14-R-0019), and to insist that serious punitive action be taken against this facility for recent violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

In a USDA inspection report dated 7/19/11 this facility is cited for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act including a citation for Unqualified Personnel. This citation for unqualified personnel resulted from the overdosing of a primate during surgery resulting in untreatable renal failure, which made euthanasia unavoidable.

As you know, this is the second incident of negligence related to the death of a primate at this facility in just over 1 year. On June 29, 2010, Harvard received five USDA citations for violating the Animal Welfare Act. The violations involved unqualified personnel inadequate veterinary care, and inadequate cleaning/sanitation procedures. This inspection report recounted an incident in which a primate was found dead in a cage that had just gone through the cage-washing system.

It is clear that the staff of this lab, according to the inspection reports of the USDA is UNQUALIFIED. This has not changed in over a year. Why has serious action not been taken against this facility? How many more animals have to die due to negligence before the Eastern Regional Office of the USDA does something about it?

I know that your office considers major violations of the Animal Welfare Act to be very serious in nature, especially when these violations take the lives of animals. The treatment of animals at this facility illustrates attitudes of carelessness and negligence that must be punished so that meaningful changes can be made. Therefore, I also insist that you take the most severe action allowable under the Animal Welfare Act and immediately begin the process of issuing a fine against the Harvard Medical School.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future about the fate of this facility.

Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN

Attachments: USDA - Inspection Report - 19 Jul 2011

Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

We welcome your comments and questions