Southborough primate facility cited again for animal’s death

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Please contact Elizabeth Goldentyer to demand that Harvard Medical School receive the largest fine possible under the Animal Welfare Act for the negligence which killed a monkey during an imaging procedure.

This is the third time in 1 1/2 years that negligence at the Medical School has killed a primate. During the same time period Harvard University negligence killed a goat, and negligence at two Harvard Medical School affiliated Hospitals killed another five animals. So far the USDA has issued only an Official Warning against Harvard's Medical School. Clearly USDA inaction has contributed to the continuing deaths at these facilities.

Please insist that the USDA issue a fine, and let Dr. Goldentyer know that you hold her personally responsible for the USDA's inaction, and the deaths of these animals. She MUST take action now!

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
USDA/APHIS/AC
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000
Raleigh, NC 27606

919-855-7100
Betty.J.Goldentyer@usda.gov

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x579522955/Southborough-primate-facility-cited-again-for-animal-s-death#ixzz1j7t8vMNn

Southborough primate facility cited again for animal's death

By Brad Petrishen, The MetroWest Daily News, Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SOUTHBOROUGH —A year after issuing a warning to the New England Primate Research Center following the death of a primate, the federal government has again cited the Harvard-affiliated facility following an animal’s death.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report released yesterday reveals that a primate died in October after it escaped and was captured by a staff member.

Inspector Paula Gladue wrote that the animal escaped before a scheduled “imaging procedure” and was captured using a hand-held net. The animal underwent the procedure and was returned to its cage, at which time the staff member noticed it had died.

Gladue said she felt Harvard “has taken appropriate steps” to address what happened by implementing additional procedures and protocols, but the report notes that the USDA’s Eastern Regional Office is reviewing the details further.

The death is the second at the facility in the last few years, as in 2010 the USDA issued a formal warning to Harvard after officials found the body of a primate in a cage that had been sent through a cage-washing system.

“This notice is being issued at this time as a serious warning that if you fail to comply with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act in the future, this citation and all past and future documented violations will be used to justify a more severe penalty,” USDA Eastern Regional Director Elizabeth Goldentyer wrote at the time.

The facility, owned and operated by Harvard Medical School, is one of eight National Primate Research Centers. It houses 1,800 primates.

The most recent death was one of five citations Gladue issued Harvard following her Dec. 12, 2010 inspection. Harvard was also cited for putting too many animals in one cage and one repeat violation for putting a primate in a cage that was too small.

Gladue also cited the facility after seeing that three primates had “patchy hair loss on their extremities and/or bodies,’’ which can be a sign that the animal is in “psychological distress.”

One of the animals, she said, excessively licked its tail, scratched itself frequently and placed its hand in front of its face, also possible signs of distress.

“There was no indication that the current unusual behaviors and appearance of the animal … had been previously noted by facility personnel,” Gladue wrote.

In a statement, Harvard Medical School said it is fully committed to complying with all regulations needed to conduct ethical biomedical research.

“We are (working) with federal authorities in an effort to strengthen our processes and to help ensure we are consistently applying best practices,” Harvard wrote, noting that last summer it self-reported incidents of unapproved procedures that were performed at the lab.

“We take the USDA findings seriously and deeply regret the situation that led to this recent report,” and Harvard is restructuring administrative leadership and strengthening oversight at the center, the school wrote.

Glaudue said Harvard addressed many of the concerns on the spot during her inspection. Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an Ohio animal rights organization, said he fears Harvard will not face any serious consequences for the violations.

“The death toll just continues to mount and the USDA does nothing about it,” he said. “What do they have to do, line them against the wall and shoot them for it to be considered serious?”

USDA spokesman Dave Sacks said yesterday that he was working to confirm whether the Eastern Regional Office is investigating the facility.

Sacks dismissed the notion that the USDA was not enforcing the Animal Welfare Act appropriately.

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