Letter of Complaint to USDA About Primate Products, Inc., Miami, FL

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Letter of Complaint to USDA About Primate Products, Inc., Miami, FL

From Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN)
August 2010

Stop animal Exploitation Now! (S.A.E.N.)
1081-B St. Rt. 28 #280
Milford, Ohio 45150
513-575-5517
www.saenonline.org

August 30, 2010

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer 8/30/10
USDA/APHIS/AC
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000
Raleigh, NC 27606

Dr. Goldentyer,

I am contacting you today because I have obtained extremely disturbing information regarding the Primate Products Facility. This facility is registered as both an animal dealer and a research facility. Their dealer license number is 93-b-0147. According to USDA documents, this company maintains two registration numbers for their research laboratories -- as well as 58-r-0144.

This information was provided anonymously in the form of 10 photos which are attached to this complaint. In general, these photos illustrate several potential problems. It is impossible to tell if the monkeys shown in these pictures are alive or dead. If they are alive, then the procedures illustrated in the pictures would demonstrate several problems. Firstly, with regard to proper surgical technique, the sterility of surgical fields is not being maintained by sterile drapes, etc. Secondly, if these are anesthetized animals, then they should also have endotracheal tubes in place to prevent the potential aspiration of fluids which could cause pneumonia, etc. So in general, if these are living animals, then extremely inappropriate surgical techniques are being used which could potentially result in serious bacterial infections, or animal death. Additionally, the incisions and suturing shown in these photos is extremely crude and not up to standards for current veterinary care.

Photo 1 illustrates what is apparently a surgical procedure because one of the monkeys is receiving IV fluids. It is clearly inappropriate to be operating on three monkeys simultaneously. This increases the potential for cross-contamination as well as increasing the potential for injuries if any of these animals begins to wake up from anesthesia. Additionally, if all three of these animals are involved in surgical procedures why is only one of them receiving fluids? Maintenance of a patent IV line is crucial for maintaining adequate hydration as well as insuring quick access for administration of additional anesthetics to maintain adequate anesthetic depth for surgery. The monkey in the foreground of the photo has a large open injury. Apparently some effort was made at suturing, however, it is not adequately closed and could easily become infected.

Photo 2 shows a monkey who has clearly suffered tremendously. This animal has gaping wounds to the upper lip, which have apparently not been treated. These wounds could have become seriously infected. However, the most serious injury to this animal appears to be on the top of the head. Apparently the head has been so severely injured that the skin is missing at the top of the skull. There are no indications that this injury has been bandaged or treated in any way. If this wound was part of some research protocol, then it is likely the sloppiest attempt at animal research that I have ever seen. It clearly endangered the life of this animal. And, if the monkey is already dead, I would suspect that the manner in which this project was performed was the cause of death.

Photo 3, dated 1/29/2010, depicts a monkey with several injuries to the head and one on the right arm. Several of them have been crudely sutured, or possibly stapled. The wound closure is extremely crude and has left a major opening in the top of the skin of the monkey’s skull which could easily lead to a serious and potentially fatal bacterial infection.

Photo 5, dated 2/1/2010, shows two primates who both have multiple issues of concern. The rear legs and buttocks appear to be severely irritated which could indicate excessively long restraint of a severe nature, such as that which would involve a primate restraint chair. However, this restraint must have been extremely long in duration to have caused such irritation. The monkey in the foreground has an open wound exposing the skull and fascia. This was likely caused surgically, due to the very regular shape of the opening in the skin. One of the forelimbs also appears to have an injury. The primate who is in the background of the photo has also apparently been used in a highly invasive surgical procedure, though the wound on the head does not appear to be as regular in appearance. Photo 6 appears to be a close up of the monkey who was in the background of photo 5. This photo again shows the crude suturing and overall barbaric nature of this highly invasive experimentation.

Photo 7, dated 2/4/10, shows a major injury on one of the primate’s limbs. It is possible that this injury could either be the result of aggressive behavior or psychologically abnormal self-destructive behavior. In either case, the staff of Primate Products did not adequately protect the safety of this animal. It is also possible that this photo could depict the result of tissue sloughing after improper administration of a drug, similar to “seritol slough.” In other words, if this injury was caused by drug administration, then it was performed by unqualified staff.

Additionally, these photos may illustrate as many as 9 different monkeys who were used in research experiments. Depending on when these projects began, and when these monkeys were initially utilized, they may indicate the filing of fraudulent reports by Primate Products. (See attached 2009 form 7023). The 2009 Annual Animal Use report filed by Primate Products lists only 8 monkeys used in experimentation. These photos could represent more animals than the lab reported, if they were used during the latter part of 2009. Photo 4 lists a date of 2/1/2010, and also shows the text “8 weeks.” This would seem to indicate that at least this animal, and potentially all of the monkeys show in these photos, were initially used during 2009. And this may reveal that the Primate Products lab filed potentially fraudulent reports with the USDA.

The open wounds in the skulls of the animals in photos 2, 3, 5 and 6 indicate that they were used in highly invasive experiments which have potential complications from conditions such as meningitis or encephalitis. The crude nature of the wounds as well as the suturing, argue against proper surgical technique or adequate veterinary care.

Overall, these photos potentially illustrate inadequate veterinary procedures, inadequate supervision of experimentation by the IACUC, inadequate environmental enhancement, unqualified personnel, etc. These photos demonstrate violations of section 2.31 Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, 2.32 Personnel Qualifications, 2.33 Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care, and section 2.36 Annual Report.

Therefore, I am filing an official complaint against the Primate Products Laboratory/Dealer and I am asking that USDA/APHIS/REAC immediately investigate this facility to examine the health and welfare of all primates at this facility. I would also request that you provide me with the results of this investigation when it is completed.
Sincerely,
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.
Executive Director, SAEN