Fifth monkey death at Southboro research center to be investigated

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Please contact Elizabeth Goldentyer to demand that Harvard Medical School receive the largest fine possible under the Animal Welfare Act for the negligence which killed a monkey during a medical procedure.

This is the fifth time in just over one and a half years that negligence at the New England Primate Research Center has killed a primate.
So far the USDA has issued only an Official Warning against Harvard's Medical School. Clearly USDA inaction has contributed to the continuing deaths at this facility.

Please insist that the USDA issue a fine, and let Dr. Goldentyer know that you hold her personally responsible for the USDA's inaction, and the deaths of these animals. She MUST take action now!

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 855-7100
[email protected]

Fifth monkey death at Southboro research center to be investigated

By Elaine Thompson, Telegram & Gazette, Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SOUTHBORO — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today it will investigate the fifth death of a monkey seven months ago at Harvard's New England Primate Research Center, following a complaint from an animal rights group alleging negligence.

The USDA is already investigating four questionable monkey deaths at the facility since 2010; the last one occurred in February. Harvard stopped all new research pending the outcome of the investigation.

Harvard Medical School officials, in an email, said the allegation of another monkey death, besides the four confirmed previously as being under investigation, is correct. They said there was a primate death in August resulting from a complication of a procedure that was part of an approved protocol, and the death was not required to be reported to the federal government.

“Our review indicates that the animal received appropriate veterinary care and post-operative checks, and it was observed to be recovering normally from the procedure. Regrettably, there are risks associated with surgical procedures, and this death resulted from a known complication. It was not required that an incident of this type be reported to the federal government,” the email read.

In a complaint to the USDA, Michael A. Budkie, executive director of the Milford, Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now, asked for the investigation that he said is based on information provided by a whistle-blower connected to the research center.

“According to the whistleblower approximately seven months ago a NEPRC employee, Sara, a veterinary technician, was performing what appeared to be a medical procedure on a primate in Building 5 at the NEPRC. The procedure involved inserting a tube into the rectum of the primate. Despite the fact that this was apparently a fairly routine procedure, the primate did not survive. This can only mean that this procedure was clearly botched and that the negligence which caused this cost the animal his/her life,” Mr. Budkie wrote in his complaint.

Mr. Budkie said he did not know about the alleged fifth monkey's death until recently, after a television station in Boston put him in contact with the whistle-blower.

David Sacks, spokesman for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, today said the agency will look into the allegations contained in the complaint. He said an inspector will be sent to the facility to conduct an inspection.

“Our inspections are always unannounced, so I don't know the exact date this inspection will take place, but suffice it to say that because of the recent incidents at Harvard's primate research center, it will be soon, as we continue to closely monitor this facility by visiting more frequently as a way to monitor Harvard's progress and ensure the welfare of the animals there,” Mr. Sacks said in an email.

Mr. Sacks said a research facility is only required to report deaths of animals that are possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. They are not required to report deaths that are the result of controlled research or natural causes, he said.

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