USDA inspection reports dated 3/18/03 discuss violations
in the areas of IACUCs for improper internal inspections, and Housing
facilities for non-human primates. A report from 8/23/02 discusses the
death of Rhesus monkey #3566 on 4/16/02. Apparently this primate had been
steadily declining since 6/01 – losing 32% of his/her body weight in this
14-month period. This primate had received multiple MPTP treatments over a
6-month period. The primate received treatment for clinical problems on
3/16 & 3/31. Health concerns were again raised on 4/14. However, the
researchers did not observe the primate on this day, and were unavailable
for contact from the veterinary staff. Husbandry staff didn’t report the
animal’s anorexic condition until 4/15 – when the animal was found with no
evident heartbeat or respiration, and hypothermia. The primate was
revived, but was found dead the next morning.
Another incident at Emory described in the USDA report
involves an " . . . anorexic, barely mobile, syringe-fed monkey that had
been living in a sleep study cubicle for ‘several days’ following
multiple, systemic MPTP injections."
The USDA inspector concludes the report with this
comment: "Recent incidents described herein demonstrate (a) lack (of)
timely communications between investigators/husbandry staff and the
attending veterinarian, one of which resulted in an animal death."
Other inspection reports (from 3/30/00) list
deficiencies in space requirements, environmental enrichment, and
veterinary care. In relation to the Environmental enrichment violations
the inspector makes an interesting statement: " . . . although a
significant percentage of the macaques at the Yerkes Field Station are
partially or entirely bald, this condition has not been noted as not
normal, accessed for the extent of the condition, nor possible reasons or
solutions investigated. The baldness appears to be due to overgrooming,
and may indicate a need for the opportunity to express other normal
behaviors (climbing, exploring) more frequently."
The care of primates at Emory University is particularly
important because Emory is the home of the Yerkes Primate Research Center,
which handles over 3000 primates per year.