Animal rights group: Harvard deserves more fines

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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 caused injuries to several monkeys and one human.
 
Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
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Betty.J.Goldentyer@usda.gov

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/article/20140109/NEWS/140109618

Animal rights group: Harvard deserves more fines

By Brad Petrishen, MetrowestDailyNews.com, Thursday, January 9, 2014

SOUTHBOROUGH – An animal rights group Wednesday demanded the government levy more fines against Harvard's New England Primate Research Center after releasing documents it says detail additional violation of animal safety laws.

"Harvard deserves a second major penalty," Michael Budkie, executive director of Ohio-Based Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, said Wednesday.

The center – which Harvard plans to close within two years - was fined $24,036 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month after an investigation into four monkey deaths and several other incidents that have occurred there in the past few years.

Budkie Wednesday released documents he obtained from the National Institutes of Health, which provides funding to the center. He said the documents show potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act for which the center has not been fined.

The center is required to self-report incidents in which it breaks NIH animal health regulations – regulations Budkie said "largely mirror" those of the Animal Welfare Act.

In the NIH documents cited by Budkie, Harvard self-reported several instances of breaking NIH protocol, including one instance in which an employee was bitten by a monkey.

According to the documents, a rhesus monkey escaped from a cage on June 5, 2012 and bit an employee on the hand while being captured. The monkey was also injured, with a handwritten scrawl appearing to note that one of its fingers had to be amputated.

Other NIH documents provided by Budkie include an instance in which a marmoset broke a leg during a capture in February 2013, a report that Harvard conducted "unapproved" blood draws and drug applications and that it used non-pharmaceutical grade chemicals in a primate experiment.

In response documents, NIH officials do not seem overly concerned with the reports, writing that the school had taken steps to correct the problems.

Budkie believes the government has been too lenient on Harvard. He demanded additional fines in a letter to the USDA, which regularly inspects the center.

USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole said Wednesday afternoon that her agency is still looking into the specifics of the complaint, but believes at least one the incidents in question was included in a 2012 inspection report.

Cole said the USDA and NIH regularly share information, and that any reports of potential negligence the USDA receives are investigated thoroughly.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Harvard Medical School said it took the correct steps following the incidents.

"We self-reported these issues to all appropriate regulatory agencies after carefully reviewing our reporting practices, and then worked with them to address the issues in order to ensure the welfare and ethical treatment of all animals within our care," the school wrote.

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