Princeton University again cited for violations in lab animal care

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Princeton University again cited for violations in lab animal care

By Pat Summers, NewsRoom Jersey, June 14, 2011

Less than a year after being cited for 11 violations of federal guidelines for treatment of animals in laboratories, Princeton University has amassed six violations of the same rules, derived from the Animal Welfare Act of 1966.

This time, US Dept. of Agriculture lab inspections in February and April, 2011 indicated Princeton had deprived a primate of water for more than a 24-hour period – from early on a Sunday until 3 pm the next day. This was a violation of watering schedules established for primates used in experiments, the Times of Trenton reported late last week.

The university’s violations also included deviation from protocols that had been approved by Princeton’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Princeton – a body all research institutions are legally required to have. These deviations included “inconsistencies in the use of the animals from what was described in the IACUC protocol.”

According to a Princeton spokesperson when 2010 violations were publicized last July, the university’s IACUC consists of a veterinarian, a practicing scientist experienced in animal research and a member from the Princeton-area community. The university was then in the process, she said, of “strengthening” the committee.

The facility where this year’s violations occurred houses 15 macaques and 10 marmosets, according to the recent Times story. In it, university spokesperson Martin Mbugua described a “breakdown of communication” in the case of the primate denied water. He said steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence.

Dissatisfied with the university’s violation record, Michael A. Budkie, executive director of the “animal research watchdog” organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), has filed an official complaint with the USDA against Princeton University, insisting that “serious punitive action” be taken.

Referring to “several years” during which a total of 22 Animal Welfare Act violations have occurred at Princeton, Budkie noted that in 2010 and 2011 alone, 17 of those violations happened in connection with primate experiments. For that reason, all primate experiments at Princeton should be halted, he said.

Finally, Budkie insisted that the university’s “attitudes of carelessness and negligence” should be punishable with a fine.

See also: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

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