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

Media Coverage

Primate abuse is alleged

The Daily Advertiser
Posted: Oct 21, 2009

Primate abuse is alleged An animal-rights watchdog group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging inadequate animal care at the New Iberia Research Center.

This is the third time in four years the Ohio-based group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, has alleged veterinary negligence at NIRC.

Earlier this year the USDA investigated claims made in January. The group had alleged inadequate animal care based on the deaths of nine primates that it said were not properly treated.

"Focused inspection of allegations in SAEN Complaint," a March 5 USDA report reads. "All applicable items in compliance."

However, SAEN Executive Director Michael Budkie said the most recent complaint should hold more weight, because his group obtained records through a Freedom of Information Request and studied the medical records of some 1,500 primates. NIRC houses about 6,000 primates.

The new complaint alleges a 33 percent infant mortality rate and lack of care of primates that results in death.

"As many as two primates every day die from natural causes or traumatic injuries," Budkie said.

The complaint comes some seven months after undercover video of NIRC operations was the focus of an episode of the news-magazine show Nightline. The Humane Society of the United Stated conducted the undercover investigation and produced video it said showed physical and psychological abuse of animals housed there.

In the wake of the national coverage, four USDA inspectors visited the center and raised six concerns with the facility's compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, including problems with the methods used for sedating primates, animals being isolated from similar species while under study and heating around cages.

All of those complaints have been rectified, UL spokeswoman Julie Dronet said Tuesday.

"The university takes seriously any allegation of animal mistreatment," a news release from UL reads. "A subcommittee of the (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) will meet to review the records of animals cited by Budkie in his latest letter to the USDA."

It is unclear how long or if the USDA will conduct an investigation.

"We definitely take notice of these complaint letters," USDA spokesman Dave Sacks said, but added that the department receives many every day.

It could be months or years before an investigation is conducted, depending on the severity of the complaint, Sacks said.

See: University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA

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