Monkey's Death at Southwest Foundation Alarms Animal Activists

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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Foundation says handling animals humanely is top priority
By Jim Forsyth Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The death of a rhesus monkey at San Antonio's Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research has prompted new calls by animal rights activists for stricter federal controls on the management of animals at the facility, which is known to commuters along Loop 410 for its elaborate monkey cages on the northwest side, 1200 WOAI news reports.

"This is a clear instance of negligence on the part of Southwest Foundation, and they should be severely penalized," said Michael Budkie of Stop animal Exploitation Now, an activist group.

A US Department of Agriculture report says the money had been placed in an indoor cage at the Institute the night of November 30, due to predictions of sub freezing temperatures in the city. The monkey reached a cable opening to the gate to the eternal caging, and was stuck outside and unable to return. By the time officials found it the next morning, it had to be euthanized.

"They have clearly demonstrated an inability to adequately care for primates," said Budkie, who is calling on the federal government to increase its' oversight of the operations of the monkey colony at SWFBR, which is the largest baboon colony in the world, with 2700 animals.

Foundation President and CEO Kenneth Trevett said The Agriculture Department has ordered the locking mechanism on the monkey cages by switched out, and he says that is in the process of being done.

"The proper care of animals in our facility is our ethical responsibility as well as essential to the research we conduct," Trevett said. "We take this obligation very seriously."

A veterinarian brought in to inspect the facility said he found it to be 'of the highest order.'

SWFBR is a pure research facility created by legendary Texas oilman Tom Slick. It performs a wide variety of research on diseases ranging from HIV to hepatitis to anthrax, and the Institute says its use of monkeys is vital to conducting its core mission.

But Budkie says incidents like this show the Foundation has lost control of its animal colony.

"It is clearly a concern when you are dealing with a facility of this size, that primates literally get lost in the shuffle," he said.

See Also:
Monkey's Death at Southwest Foundation Alarms Animal Activists - 21 Apr 2010 - Media Coverage
Monkey's death raises ire of animal group - 21 Apr 2010 - Media Coverage
21 Apr 2010 - Young Primate Freezes to Death at Southwest Foundation; USDA Issues Citations - Press Release
SW Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX

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