Photos of hurt monkeys prompt federal inspection Research company president says animals have since healed

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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-monkey-photos-20100902,0,6094968.story

Photos of hurt monkeys prompt federal inspection Research company president says animals have since healed

6:25 p.m. EDT, September 2, 2010
By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel

MIAMI — Federal officials say they will inspect an animal research facility now that watchdog groups have complained about photos of bloody monkeys they say were leaked from inside.

Ten photos showing monkeys with deep gashes and open wounds surfaced on the Internet last week. An underground group calling itself the Animal Liberation Investigative Unit claims to have leaked the photos from inside the walls of Primate Products Inc. in Doral.

"Those pictures may be the tip of the iceberg," said Don Anthony, spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale-based Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. "Who knows what else may be going on behind the scenes?"

Primate Products imports monkeys and sells them to universities and pharmaceutical firms for medical research. The company also sells restraints used in animal research and is registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct its own research.

Two watchdog groups -- The Animal Rights Foundation and Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now -- filed complaints with the USDA alleging violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The federal law sets standards of minimum care for animals used in research, zoos and circuses.

A federal inspector will show up for an unannounced tour of the Doral facility to look for potential violations, said USDA spokesman Dave Sacks. If any are found, USDA officials will launch an investigation that could take months.

Violators face fines up to $10,000 per offense and could have their license suspended or permanently revoked.

USDA officials dismissed a prior complaint against Primate Products after determining the allegations to be unfounded, Sacks said. He did not have details about what prompted the complaint or when it was filed.

Donald Bradford, president of Primate Products, could not be reached for comment despite 10 calls this week to his work, cell and home phones.

When questioned by an NBC-Ch. 6 reporter, Bradford confirmed that the photos were taken from inside the facility and said the monkeys were injured by other monkeys. The animals in the images are alive and have since healed, he said.

Activists dispute Bradford's claim. If it is true the monkeys were hurt by other animals, they question why the animals were not adequately supervised and kept apart to prevent injuries, as required by the Animal Welfare Act.

The photographs show "Frankstein-like" conditions at the facility, said Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

"In many lab settings, nonhuman primates go insane due to lack of environmental stimulation," Budkie said. "They rip out their own hair, bite their fingers and toes. Some of the photos depict injuries that could be the result of self-destructive behavior or a fight between two primates."

Budkie says some of the animals may have been kept in restraints too long, leaving their hindquarters red and irritated, as evidenced by the photos.

"These pictures are terrifying," said Gary Serignese, a Palm Beach County resident who helps organize protests at the facility.

Activists are planning to protest what they call Primate Products' cruel treatment of animals on Sept. 7. The protest will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the facility at 7780 NW 53rd St.

See Also:
Primate Products, Inc., Miami, FL
Primate Products Leaked Photos
Letter of Complaint to Primate Products, Inc., Miami, FL About 'Frankenstein-like' Photos
Letter of Complaint to USDA About Primate Products, Inc., Miami, FL
30 Aug 2010 - Leaked photos show 'Frankenstein-like' gruesome wounds to small primates at Miami research lab; Watchdog group files federal complaint
Sick Pics Leaked From Miami Animal Research Facility
Photos of hurt monkeys prompt federal inspection Research company president says animals have since healed
6 Sep 2010 - Major protest set Tuesday at Miami research laboratory after leaked photos reveal horrific conditions; Federal officials confirm investigation, watchdog group says
Photos Of Alleged Primate Abuse Spark Protest - 7 Sep 2010
Animal activists protest outside lab - 7 Sep 2010
Leaked Photos Lead to Primate Lab Protest USDA to send inspector to Doral's Primate Products - 8 Sep 2010

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