Monkey deaths ignite protest at Harvard center in Southboro

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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]

Monkey deaths ignite protest at Harvard center in Southboro

By Paula J. Owen,, Monday, March 26, 2012

Harvard Medical's practices targeted

SOUTHBORO — Protesters upset over Harvard Medical School's alleged neglect and abuse of primates at its research center in Southboro said they will not stop speaking out until the nation's oldest university discontinues tests on the animals.

Five protesters gathered yesterday at Route 20 and Farm Road, which leads to the New England Primate Research Center on Pine Road, holding signs and displaying a black, primate-sized coffin.

They were hoping to raise awareness of the deaths of at least five primates at the research center in the last 18 months, caused by what they say was negligence by Harvard researchers. The last primate to die, in February, was a female cotton top tamarin that did not have a water bottle in its cage. The animal died of dehydration, said protester Jamie R. Kordak, a federal park ranger from East Brookfield.

Ms. Kordak alleges there are more monkeys that have been killed at the facility, but researches are not required to report deaths to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that are the result of “normal procedures.”

That is why, she said, she and others only learned this month about the death of another primate at the facility, one that died about seven months ago after a procedure in which researchers inserted a catheter into its rectum.

Harvard University did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A security guard refused to allow a reporter to drive up the road to the facility.

Ms. Kordak said a whistle-blower at the New England Primate Research Center notified news outlets and the group she is part of — Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now — about the death.

“It just came to light after a whistle-blower let the media know,” Ms. Kordak said.

“Harvard did not notify anyone. And there are far more deaths than this. They don't tell anyone about the monkeys that are injured and die from ‘routine' procedures or fighting or mutilating themselves.”

“They are experimenting on primates because they are our closest cousins, but they overlook that they are so close to us and feel the same emotions and pain we do, and are intelligent,” said protester David L. Merrick, a computer consultant from West Brookfield. “How can they ethically do experiments on them?”

Steven W. Baer of Shrewsbury, a civil engineer working for the state, said primate research facilities are supposed to keep the animals safe.

“They are supposed to give them a good life if they are going to use them, but Harvard isn't doing that,” said Mr. Baer, who also said he wants to see all of the nearly 2,100 primates at the facility sent to a sanctuary. “They are not learning anything of significance to human health. This is just a gravy train to them, and unfortunately that gravy train is our tax dollars.”

About 32 percent of the primates, he said, exhibit self-inflicting behaviors.

On its website, the research center has said its work has led to greater understanding of diseases such as AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and colon cancer and of addictions to nicotine and cocaine.

The USDA is investigating the deaths, Harvard Medical School officials said, and Harvard has stopped all new research during the investigation.

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