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Press Releases

Research Watchdog Organization asks for access to NIRC lab; Calls for retirement of Chimps

For Immediate Release
December 7, 2005
Contact: Michael Budkie 513-575-5517; 513-703-9865 (cell)

New Iberia, LA – As the NIRC lab faces a Louisiana state ethics board hearing, SAEN, a National Research Watchdog Organization, has requested access to NIRC facilities and records while issuing a call for the retirement of 138 chimps at the facility.

Internal government documents obtained from the National Institutes of Health reveal chimp deaths at NIRC from severe disease conditions including meningitis and peritonitis. Additionally, many of the chimps at NIRC have spent decades within the barren conditions of the laboratory – costing taxpayers almost $1 million per year.

“The NIRC facility is taking $894,422 in tax dollars to house roughly 140 chimps for one year,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director of SAEN. “The federal government has declared a moratorium on breeding chimps. Why are we still spending millions of dollars simply warehousing primates? These animals have served their time and should be retired immediately.”

In a letter to University of Louisiana, Lafayette President Dr. Ray Authement, Mr. Budkie has requested access to all NIRC primate facilities as well as copies of necropsy reports for all primates who have died at NIRC for the last two years.

Additional documents have been requested through the Freedom of Information Act from the National Institutes of Health.

“If the officials at NIRC have nothing to hide, then they should provide access to their facilities and documentation,” added Budkie. “Otherwise we must conclude that a cover-up is underway.”

-30-

See: Chimpanzees at New Iberia Research Center

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