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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Allegation: Living Primate Dissected at SA Lab

Southwest Foundation says allegations "groundless"

By Jim Forsyth
Monday, February 11, 2008

Animal rights activists charged today that San Antonio's Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, a key facility for research into biohazards and diseases like HIV, dissected a research baboon while it was still alive, and called for a federal investigation, and for federal research dollars to be pulled from the foundation.

"Because if they can't follow the very minimal laws that exist, they shouldn't get tax dollars to perform research," said Michael Budkie, Executive Director of the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

SAEN citied an investigation by the Department of Agriculture, which it obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Southwest Foundation didn't deny that the baboon was still alive during euthanization, but it says in a statement that the animal was 'deeply sedated' and 'experienced no pain whatsoever.'

"SFBR strongly objects to the characterization of this incident, which was fully investigated both internally and by federal regulatory officials," the Foundation's Julie Collins said.

Southwest Foundation is one of the world's largest biological research facilities, and it has been the target over the years of animal rights demonstrators. It is best known in Texas for its colony of more than 2400 'retired' research monkeys which live in sprawling cages along heavily traveled Loop 410 near the Foundationís main campus. The Foundation performs independent testing on pharmaceutical products, and works on government and private industry contracts on a variety of chemicals, drugs, and disease treatments.

The Foundation has contracts with the federal government for some $54 million a year to perform various projects, and he says the Foundation has determined that the fines in place for violating animal cruelty laws are a 'legitimate cost of doing business.'

"It would be like a person receiving a speeding ticket where the fine was three dollars," he said. "You just wouldn't care."

The Foundationís Collins says the federal Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare has investigated the case, and has concluded that the Foundation acted 'in compliance with applicable federal regulations.

"The USDA requested clarification of standard operating procedures regarding euthanization, in response to which additional steps n our euthanasia protocol were instituted and reported to the USDA," Collins said. "The assertion that the Foundation committed blatant violations of animal welfare laws and regulations are completely groundless."

She said the baboon in question was dissected not for research purposes, but because it had been 'severely injured.' She didn't say what caused the injury.

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