1081-B St. Rt. 28 #280
Milford, Ohio 45150
Dr. Robert Gibbens 3/4/12
Director, Western Region
2150 Center Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
I am contacting you today because I am outraged by the recent cruel
and unnecessary deaths of ten cats
at the Southwest Bio-labs (85-R-0015) of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
A December, 2011, USDA inspection report for this facility cites the
lab for inadequate indoor housing
facilities. The incident which took place occurred in October of
2011. Apparently a thermostat malfunctioned and caused temperatures in a room which housed cats to rise
precipitously. The excessive heat caused ten cats
It is clear that this facility also committed violations of several
additional portions of the Animal
Welfare Act. While the facility was cited for a violation of Section
3.2 Indoor Housing Facilities, I believe that
several other sections of the AWA were violated, including: Section
2.33 Adequate Veterinary Care, which
includes requirements for adequate observation of animals.
Additionally, Section 2.32 Personnel Qualifications
– providing qualified personnel to care for animals, etc.
It is clear from this inspection report that the cats in this
facility were not adequately observed, they
were not protected from injury, and the facilities in which they
were housed were grossly inadequate.
Therefore, in light of the direct nature of this violation, in light
of the fact that this violation took the lives of 10
cats, I hereby insist that the Western Regional Office of the Animal
& Plant Inspection Service immediately
initiate the process necessary to levy a substantial fine against
Southwest Biolabs. I am aware that fines can be
issued in the amount of $10,000 per violation, and that in some
instances; this can be multiplied by the number
of animals affected by the violation. In light of the seriousness of
the fatal nature of this non-compliance, I urge
you to utilize the per animal option, and issue a fine of $10,000
per animal killed in this situation, or a minimum of $100,000 based
on the single violation which has already been issued and the ten
animals it affected.
I expect that your office will reply to this correspondence within
five business days.
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN
Attachments: USDA Inspection Report
CC: Office of the Inspector General
Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from
coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports
do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank
report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility
has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form
does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals
(primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep,
goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of
the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals
used at research facilities are not even counted.
welcome your comments and questions