Monkey dies during USF research study

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Please contact the USDA to insist on a major fine for University of South Florida for the negligence which killed one monkey and made others seriously ill.

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
USDA/APHIS/AC 920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000 Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 855-7100
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Monkey dies during USF research study

By Andrew Senior,, Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tampa, Florida – An animal rights group is pushing for an investigation following the death of a rhesus monkey during a research study at the University of South Florida.

"We have filed an official complaint with the USDA to initiate a full investigation and to begin the prosecution of the university," said Michael Budkie, founder of the group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now or SAEN.

It comes after the organization dug up documents that showed water was withheld from monkeys on two occasion since April of 2013.

In an incident that took place on December 11, 12, and 18th, water was withheld, which resulted in one monkey having to be put down and 3 other falling ill after coming down with a condition known as ketosis.

SAEN COMPLAINT: Group flags USF action (PDF)

That illness led to elevated levels of ketosis in the bloodstream.

SAEN also found that fluids were also withheld during a study in April of 2013 that involved 27 monkeys.

It wants to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take swift action against the university.

"If USDA was to use the $10,000 per infraction per animal, this could very easily get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Budkie said.

The move comes amid a push to get the university to stop experimentation on animal's altogether.

More than 4,299 people have signed a petition on the website titled "Stop Animal Experimentation at The University of South Florida."

"As a student at USF I want to be able to stand by university without regrets," said Ashleigh Thompson, a student who has signed the online petition. "I believe animal testing is crud way of going about finding scientific results in this day and age."

In a response to 10 News seeking comment on the death of the animals, the school released a statement.

"In December 2013, a University of South Florida veterinarian discovered the violation and took immediate corrective action. The incident was then self-reported to the appropriate university oversight committee and federal authorities. The review determined that the research violated both university and federal guidelines. The researcher's projects were closed, her animal research privileges were revoked and the animals were placed under veterinary care. The animals were then transferred to an outside facility. After USF self-reported the incident, federal authorities accepted the corrective steps put in place by the university and consider the matter closed. USF no longer conducts any primate research projects.

As an institution, USF believes in the respectful and ethical treatment of animals in research projects. The university has a vigorous review and training process. USF will continue to abide by all state and federal laws and guidelines."

USF self-reported the issue, but SAEN wrote a letter to USF President Dr. Judy Genshaft requesting a thorough investigation into the monkey's death.

"I am writing to you today to request that the University of South Florida (USF) immediately institute a full internal investigation for potential research fraud in connection to the incidents recounted in the attached correspondence between USF administration and the National Institutes of Health, Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. I believe that the incidents in question may constitute not only potential violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, but also possible research fraud," read the letter to the president. 

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