USDA inspectors find inadequate veterinary care at Santa Cruz research facility

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Please contact Dr. Gibbens and demand that he take immediate action against the Santa Cruz Biotech company for all violations of the animal Welfare Act. Be sure to insist on severe penalties because negligence at this lab has killed several goats and caused others to suffer horribly.

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region
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(970) 494-7478
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Please contact Santa Cruz Biotech directly and demand that their criminal negligence end, and that they begin retiring animals to sanctuaries instead of just killing them.Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.
2145 Delaware Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA. 95060
Toll Free: 1.800.457.3801
Phone: 831.457.3800
Fax: 831.457.3801
e-mail: [email protected]

USDA inspectors find inadequate veterinary care at Santa Cruz research facility

By Jessica M. Pasko, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SANTA CRUZ - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found a number of violations of the animal welfare act at a Santa Cruz laboratory for the second time in two years.

According to reports, inspectors multiple violations in areas of research protocol procedures and veterinary care during an a March 6 inspection at Santa Cruz Biotechnology.

A follow-up inspection a month later turned up further violations, including a goat with a leg fracture in which one part of the leg was "moving independently from the rest of the leg when the goat walked." Another goat had an untreated broken leg, while yet another was suffering a serious, untreated skin condition and was later euthanized.

The inspection found the facility has one veterinarian on staff, tasked with caring for 10,000 goats and 6,000 rabbits as well as undetermined number of cattle and horses.

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, one of the city's largest employers, sells antibodies to researchers and maintains offices in Paso Robles; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Heidelberg,  Germany.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an Ohio-based animal research watchdog group, is calling on the USDA to pursue an investigation against the company and seek fines.

"I find it most disturbing that many animals at this facility are allowed to suffer through illnesses and injuries without treatment, and that the only treatment given to other suffering animals is euthanasia," Michael Budkie, the organization's executive director, wrote in a letter to USDA. "This clearly indicates a total disregard for the law by the management of this facility as well as a complete lack of concern for the animals held captive here."

Budkie said he believes the facility's veterinarian is trying her best to take care of the animals but that one veterinarian for nearly 20,000 animals is clearly overburdened and that level of staffing is inadequate. To produce antibodies, the animals must be maintained in a "chronically sick" condition.

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service investigated the company last year after inspections at the facility twice in 2010 found a dozen sick or injured goats in pain. Agency spokesman David Sacks could not immediately say Tuesday whether the company was penalized after that investigation. Violations can result in penalties ranging from a warning letter to a fine of $10,000 per violation, Sacks said.

The April 19 inspection at Santa Cruz Biotech found two violations classified as "direct, noncompliant," which results in an another automatic inspection within 45 days. Inspectors also recorded one "repeat, noncompliant" violation, which calls for a reinspection within 90 days, according to USDA records.

A spokeswoman for Santa Cruz Biotechnology could not be reached to comment Tuesday.

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