The Daily Advertiser
Posted: Oct 21, 2009
Primate abuse is alleged An animal-rights
watchdog group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture alleging inadequate animal care at the New Iberia
This is the third time in four years the Ohio-based group, Stop
Animal Exploitation Now, has alleged veterinary negligence at NIRC.
Earlier this year the USDA investigated claims made in January.
The group had alleged inadequate animal care based on the deaths of
nine primates that it said were not properly treated.
"Focused inspection of allegations in SAEN Complaint," a March 5
USDA report reads. "All applicable items in compliance."
However, SAEN Executive Director Michael Budkie said the most
recent complaint should hold more weight, because his group obtained
records through a Freedom of Information Request and studied the
medical records of some 1,500 primates. NIRC houses about 6,000
The new complaint alleges a 33 percent infant mortality rate and
lack of care of primates that results in death.
"As many as two primates every day die from natural causes or
traumatic injuries," Budkie said.
The complaint comes some seven months after undercover video of
NIRC operations was the focus of an episode of the news-magazine
show Nightline. The Humane Society of the United Stated conducted
the undercover investigation and produced video it said showed
physical and psychological abuse of animals housed there.
In the wake of the national coverage, four USDA inspectors
visited the center and raised six concerns with the facility's
compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, including problems with the
methods used for sedating primates, animals being isolated from
similar species while under study and heating around cages.
All of those complaints have been rectified, UL spokeswoman Julie
Dronet said Tuesday.
"The university takes seriously any allegation of animal
mistreatment," a news release from UL reads. "A subcommittee of the
(Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) will meet to review
the records of animals cited by Budkie in his latest letter to the
It is unclear how long or if the USDA will conduct an
"We definitely take notice of these complaint letters," USDA
spokesman Dave Sacks said, but added that the department receives
many every day.
It could be months or years before an investigation is conducted,
depending on the severity of the complaint, Sacks said.
See: University of Louisiana,
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