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1 August 2001 Issue
NIH Pulls Plug On Chimpanzee Lab Bailout

From In Defense of Animals, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Animal Protection of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87192
http://www.vivisectioninfo.org/Coulston/financial/ 

Financial Statements Show Coulston Foundation's Imminent Collapse

Alamogordo, NM (July 31, 2001) - The National Institutes of Health has stopped funding the embattled Coulston Foundation, years after the lab was first documented to be in violation of federal animal welfare laws, In Defense of Animals (IDA) and Animal Protection New Mexico (APNM) announced today.

According to NIH records (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/assurance/300index.htm), Coulston no longer has an Animal Welfare Assurance on file with the NIH, making the lab ineligible to receive federal research funds. IDA and APNM predicted that the collapse of the foundation is now imminent.

"For two years, the only thing that stood between Coulston and bankruptcy was the NIH's illegal $3 million bailout," said IDA Research Director Eric Kleiman. "Now that the federal subsidy is history, so is Coulston."

As evidence, the groups released financial statements filed by The Coulston Foundation with the IRS that reveal that NIH funds comprised 63 per cent of the lab's income for the fiscal year ending 6/30/00. The statements (available on the web at http://www.vivisectioninfo.org/Coulston/financial/) also reveal:

* The lab's $840,364 in the bank on July 1, 1999 had shrunk to $68,414 by June 30, 2000;

* CEO Fred Coulston gave the lab a gift of $733,280 and a loan for an unspecified amount for "operating capital," while for the fiscal year ending 6/30/99, Coulston personally gave it over $1.2 million (Coulston told the USDA in early 1999 he had already given $6.8 million to the lab);

* The lab's private income has dropped 35 per cent since the fiscal year ending 6/30/98.

Current conditions at Coulston appear even worse than in April 1999, when NIH auditors found that the lab was bringing in only 1/3 of the money necessary for operation, had $800,000 in unpaid bills, and was on the verge of financial collapse. Even then, according to the NIH audit (available on the web at
http://www.vivisectioninfo.org/vivcampaigns/NIHtestimony/tcf_financial.pdf),
the lab had steadily been losing private funding. Two months after that audit and after repeated requests by Coulston for financial aid, the NIH began its illegal bailout of the lab.

At the time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had filed three formal complaints against Coulston for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act involving negligent chimpanzee deaths. The lab's regulatory troubles intensified in August 1999 when Food and Drug Administration inspectors documented hundreds of violations of regulations meant to ensure human safety and data integrity in an inspection of the lab. The FDA subsequently issued a rare Warning Letter, prohibiting the lab from beginning any new studies under agency purview.

As a result of the lab's mounting regulatory violations, Coulston has lost even more of its private business base. In December 2000, the FDA identified continuing data integrity violations and found that the lab had also violated the Warning Letter. And, this month, the USDA filed an unprecedented fourth set of USDA charges for animal welfare violations, including violations of a federal consent order and more negligent chimpanzee deaths.

"Coulston's regulatory and financial troubles are insurmountable and the lab's demise is long overdue," concluded APNM development director Harriette Roller. "We will not rest until we hold the NIH and other entities that helped create the Coulston disaster accountable for funding the long-term care and permanent retirement of the 300 chimpanzees who remain imprisoned within the lab's walls."

IDA is an international animal advocacy and rescue organization based in Mill Valley, Calif. APNM is a statewide animal advocacy organization based in Albuquerque.

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