Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Jan 28, 2009
NEW IBERIA — An Ohio-based animal-rights organization claims nine
primates at University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia
Research Center died because their illnesses were ignored by staff.
The group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said Tuesday that it has
filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service. On Tuesday afternoon, USDA
officials could not confirm receipt of the complaint.
Johnny Hardcastle, head of animal resources at the primate
center, said he did not know of any USDA investigation of animal
health. He said that if officials are notified of such an
investigation, they will cooperate.
The animal-rights group alleges that the research center violated
the Animal Welfare Act, which requires research facilities to
provide adequate veterinary care.
The complaint letter, dated Tuesday and signed by the group’s
executive director Michael Budkie, provides details of conditions
that may have contributed to the deaths of nine animals — three
chimpanzees, four rhesus monkeys and two infant primates. Some of
the undiagnosed illnesses alleged by Budkie include: maternal
trauma/neglect, septicemia, gastric bloat and toxemia.
The group seeks fines and suspensions of projects at the New
Iberia Research Center, which has a veterinary sciences division.
“Overall, the animals and incidents discussed indicate inadequate
observation of these animals and inadequate treatment, if not
veterinary negligence,” Budkie wrote.
According to its Web site, the university’s research center
specializes in the “breeding, management and importation” of
nonhuman primates for research purposes.
According to the site, the center’s veterinary services division
animal observations are conducted a minimum of twice a day and
abnormal health observations are reported to a staff veterinarian.
The USDA conducts unannounced visits to research facilities at
least once a year to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.
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