Negligence and Abuse at the New Iberia Research Center
The New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) is affiliated
with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. More than 6000 primates
are housed at NIRC, including chimpanzees.
According to media sources, Narriman Fakier (an
employee at NIRC) was fired for speaking up about animal cruelty. Ms.
Fakier claims that she was forced to resign in February of 2004. She has
since filed a lawsuit against the university for wrongful termination.
Fakier had become a whistleblower -- contacting the USDA, who instituted
Abuses reported by Fakier include: burning the hands
of chimpanzees, improper anesthetization techniques, and the deaths of
primates from exposure to the elements.
In the past USDA investigations have often been
inadequate, resulting in little or no consequences in clear cases of
abuse. Therefore, SAEN launched an independent investigation on February
23, 2005. SAEN has requested extensive documents from the federal
government that should blow the lid off of the NIRC case.
However, we were able to obtain some initial
information very quickly, and released it to local media. The Daily
Iberian covered the story immediately.
“Our preliminary findings indicate that something is
substantially wrong at the New Iberia Research Center,” said Michael A.
Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director of SAEN. “Government documents show
that rhesus monkeys at NIRC are suffering and dying due to negligence
and lack of adequate care.”
Necropsy findings of the 15 NIRC primates revealed:
► 1/3 of these animals were so emaciated at their
death that they had little or no body fat.
► Over 1/3 of these animals had severe
gastro-intestinal tract diseases.
► Several primates had suffered from trauma.
► One rhesus monkey was killed by sedation.
► Other primates had perished as a result of
aspiration pneumonia or heat stroke.
We believe that many of these deaths smack of
negligence on the part of NIRC staff. It is clear that pathological
conditions in these primates are allowed to continue without sufficient
treatment (causing substantial suffering to the primates) until they
have reached an unacceptable endpoint.
It is also very disturbing that the majority of the
rhesus monkeys who were necropsied were three years of age or less –
with none over seven years of age. This is extremely disturbing since
captive rhesus monkeys can live to be as much as thirty-five years old.
We Need Your Letters!
Even though our overall goal is the closure of
laboratories, we must insure that such obvious abuse ends immediately.
Please write letters of protest to:
Thomas J. Rowell, D.V.M.
New Iberia Research Center
4401 West Admiral Doyle Drive
New Iberia, LA 70560