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Articles and Reports

Letter of Complaint About New Iberia Research Center to USDA Director


1081-B St. Rt. 28 PMB 280
Milford, Ohio 45150
513-575-5517
www.saenonline.org 

1/27/09

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region
USDA/APHIS/AC
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

Dr. Gibbens,

I am contacting you today regarding documents in my possession which are relevant to the New Iberia Research Facility, which is connected to the University of Louisiana, Lafayette (72-R-0007).

As you know, section 2.33 of the Animal Welfare Act requires that research facilities provide adequate veterinary care for animals. I believe that the documents which I have obtained delineate clear violations of these regulations and I hereby officially request an investigation of these issues.

Chimpanzee A155E is described at death as being “thin and there is apparent muscle atrophy” and “the abdomen is distended.” Additionally, the necropsy further states several things which indicate very serious pathological conditions that have gone untreated. The necropsy report describes approximately 2 liters of fluid in the abdomen, as well as a cardiac abnormality. The report also mentions “a large abscessed area (20 cm diam) adherent to the body wall.” This mass is described as containing “a greenish purulent material” and a “necrotic center.” However, from May 23, 2005 through the death of this primate in November of 2007, the only treatment that this chimpanzee received was fiber tablets.

Chimpanzee A096 who died in August of 2006 apparently had a vasectomy on the 24th of August, 2006. On the 26th of August he is listed as having swollen testicles, and is D.O.A. on the 28th. The only treatment that this animal received during this period was motrin, and the cause of death is left open. However, it is apparent that this animal had serious heart issues due to the 500 ml of yellowish fluid listed in the pericardial sac, a situation which can be connected to cardiac tamponade. A vasectomy is an elective surgery and likely should not have been performed in a chimpanzee with a serious heart condition.

Chimpanzee A272 died of gastric bloat, a condition that can be related to improper diet. Additionally, his records do not list any treatment for this condition; it was discovered only at death. I believe that this indicates inadequate observation of this animal.

Rhesus monkey A4P001 is diagnosed at death with toxemia and 6 – 7 cm of gastric (jejunal) intussusception (blockage, possibly torsion). The veterinary records state that “Approximately 3cm of involved gut was necrosing.” In other words, the over 2 ½ inches of the small intestine was blocked and over an inch of this tissue had died. The severity of this condition indicates that it should have been diagnosed much earlier. This monkey had not seen a veterinarian for 5 months.

Rhesus monkey APO15 is admitted on the day before death and is described as “thin, dehydrated, poor sparse hair coat’ and “blood found oozing from the rectum.” This monkey received a physical exam on June 19, 2006 and received no treatment of any kind in the intervening period. It is important to note that a similar condition occurred two years earlier, and therefore this condition should have been monitored much more closely. Instead, this animal was allowed to deteriorate, receiving no treatment of any kind in the intervening period of over 2 years.

Rhesus monkey A4P013 is diagnosed with bloat, a condition that is often fatal. However, several other issues are present which might indicate other issues which contributed to the demise of this animal. The “excessive peritoneal fluid” which is present as well as the greatly enlarged bleeding kidneys indicate serious issues which should have been diagnosed and treated.

Rhesus monkey A4P010 is listed as dying from septicemia, a serious life-threatening infection. In this condition the blood stream is contaminated with high concentrations of pathogenic bacteria. This is not a condition that arises overnight and it was diagnosed and treated several times in the life of this monkey. However, the veterinary records for this monkey list no changes in treatment or physical exams from 9/28/06 through the date of death, five days later. This animal should not have been allowed to deteriorate to the point of developing a septicemia. Euthanasia should have occurred much sooner. Additionally, this is apparently not an uncommon in rhesus monkeys at this facility. Rhesus monkey A3P012 was also diagnosed with chronic non-responsive diarrhea.

Two infant primates, A7P001 and A7P003 are listed as dying due to maternal neglect and/or maternal trauma. In other words these infants died of injuries caused by attacks by the mother. While it may be difficult to prevent such deaths, one must wonder if the mothers of these infants had ever demonstrated psychological abnormalities before they killed their offspring. Unfortunately, no records for the mothers of these infants were available.

It is clear that the staff of NIRC systematically ignores illnesses in primates allowing them to be diagnosed only at death. I request you initiate action to levy the most substantial fine allowable (and) suspend projects which involve repeat violations. I find the attitude of callousness and negligence at (NIRC) to be nothing less than shocking Overall, the animals and incidents discussed indicate inadequate observation of these animals and inadequate treatment, if not veterinary negligence. Therefore I request that you initiate an investigation of the animal care at this facility and take action to levy the most substantial fine allowable under current federal regulations. I also request that you immediately suspend any projects which involve repeat violations. I look forward to hearing of the results of your investigation as soon as possible.

Sincerely,


Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN

Attachments:
Necropsy Report - 2007 - a7p003
Necropsy Report - 2007 - a7p001
Necropsy Report - 2007 - a155f
Necropsy Report - 2006 - a4p015
Necropsy Report - 2006 - a4p013
Necropsy Report - 2006 - a4p010
Necropsy Report - 2006 - a4p001
Necropsy Report - 2006 - a272
Necropsy Report - 2006 - a096

See: University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA

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