Yemassee monkey research lab cited for filthy conditions

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Please contact the USDA to insist on a major fine for Alpha Genesis for the negligence which killed five monkeys and left enclosures littered with moldy food and feces.

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
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Yemassee monkey research lab cited for filthy conditions

From, Friday, May 2, 2014

Yemassee, SC - Federal officials show up, unannounced, to inspect a research lab that's home to over 1,000 monkeys in Yemassee. The filthy conditions they found are now causing them to issue citations against the company.

In April, federal investigators with the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that conditions were so bad at Alpha Genesis Inc., that some animals that had frozen to death. That's resulted in seven new citations against the lab northwest of Beaufort.

Now, an animal protection group wants more to be done to ensure no more monkeys die at Alpha Genesis.

"They're just letting them die," said Carol Herard, a Charleston-based advocate for the animal protection group called Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

A latest inspection report, available to the public, reveals filthy conditions at the lab.

"Just nasty, unclean, unkempt conditions for a facility that received $2 million from the government last year," said Herard. 'They cant even care for these monkeys."

The lab breeds and experiments on thousands of monkeys, some owned by the federal government. They've been cited for creating an unsafe and unhealthy environment, leading to the deaths of some of their animals.

"The new report says they left a monkey outside in the cage, when it dropped to 9 degrees and they found him dead the next morning," said Herard.

The report also states three monkeys died in the month of January due to what the investigator called "cold stress." Alpha Genesis was also cited for several habitats not being properly cleaned with a "large number of dead cockroaches" just outside the cage. The report says inside some of the cages were layer of feces and standing water.

However, there are some rules and regulations in place to protect these monkeys, even though they're not considered pets. Labs must follow Animal Welfare Act, regulated by the USDA.

According to records, Alpha Genesis received similar citations back in 2012. Herard wants to see consequences because they're a repeat offender.

"They've been fined with multiple violations in the past," said Herard. "They need to be charged, they need to be fined."

Herard and SAEN is hoping that ultimately, Alpha Genesis has their breeding license revoked.

"If I left my dog outside in a cage to freeze to death when it was 9 degrees, i would be charged with animal cruelty, so why would it be any different for these little monkeys," said Herard.

A USDA official tells us that every lab gets a routine, unannounced, visit about once a year. However, they can also be visited following complaints filed against them. In this case, SAEN filed a complaint against Alpha Genesis before it was inspected.

A USDA official says the citations that come out of these unannounced inspections do not come with penalties. The labs are given a certain period of time to fix the problems. The USDA official says they're going to continue to monitor the conditions at Alpha Genesis.

Alpha Genesis did not return calls to Live 5. 

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