FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday / December 3, 2003
Contact: Michael Budkie (513) 575-5517
BALTIMORE – The deaths of primates at the Johns
Hopkins University – during the research of Dr. George A. Ricaurte --
have become the subject of an “Official Complaint” issued by a national
research watchdog organization Wednesday.
“It is apparent that Ricaurte’s research has been
negligent. Mistakes in this laboratory have had a terrible cost in
primates’ lives,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director of
The Complaint, filed today with the Eastern Regional
Office of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal & Plant
Health Inspection Service, alleges inadequate animal care and lying to
“The primates who died in Ricaurte’s lab likely
suffered severely as a result of drug overdoses,” added Budkie. “JHU has
a history of lying to the USDA about primate deaths.”
According to government documents obtained by SAEN,
researchers at JHU have previously lied about the painful nature of
primate deaths when reporting to federal agencies. An incident discussed
by a USDA inspector in 2002 revealed a previous occurrence of report
falsification by JHU officials involving primates who were experiencing
withdrawal during addiction experimentation. A similar incident took
place in late 1999 when a primate died of shock.
The SAEN complaint also involves the research of
Roland Griffiths, Elise Weerts, Robert Heinz, and Michael Weed. These
investigators also perform addiction experiments at Johns Hopkins which
subject primates to drug withdrawal.
USDA documents reveal a history of Animal Welfare Act
violations relevant to primate experimentation at Johns Hopkins.
Repeated violations in environmental enhancement, and IACUC enforcement
have occurred throughout a 3-year period.