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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Animal Rights Group Looks at NIRC Allegations

The Daily Iberian February 25, 2005

A national research watchdog organization announced Wednesday it has launched an investigation into animal care at the New Iberia Research Center of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) is the second animal advocacy group looking into the facility. In Defense of Animals, an organization based in Mill Valley, Calif., announced earlier this month it will press the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a full investigation into claims brought by Narriman Fakier, a former coordinator at the New Iberia Facility.

Fakier filed a lawsuit against NIRC alleging she was fired for voicing concerns about cruelty to chimpanzees housed there. Among her concerns were the deaths of chimpanzees due to exposure to cold weather and the deliberate burning of chimps with lighters and scalding water, according to the lawsuit.

A statement released by SAEN claims that initial findings based on documents obtained from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveal negligence, lack of veterinary care and severely ill animals at the NIRC facility.

“Our preliminary findings indicate that something is substantially wrong at the New Iberia Research Center,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., executive director of SAEN. “Government documents show that rhesus monkeys at NIRC are suffering and dying due to negligence and lack of adequate care.”

Necropsy (animal autopsy) reports obtained from the NIH documents state that animals at NIRC are emaciated, dehydrated and suffering from physical trauma, according to Budkie. Primates that normally live until 30 or more are usually dying at age 3 or less, according to the document.

“We want the public to know the truth about what happens to animals at NIRC,” added Budkie. “We have asked NIRC officials for additional records to adequately examine the situation there. We hope that the lab will abide by the laws of Louisiana, and provide the information we have requested.”

More than 6000 primates are housed at NIRC, which is owned and operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In a statement released last week, university officials strongly denied Fakier’s allegations.

The statement said the NIRC is fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. It said the university is “proud of its records and commitment to excellence in the care of nonhuman primates.”

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