37 Unnecessary Tombstones:
12 months of information concerning Negligent Primate Deaths in U.S. Laboratories

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37 Unnecessary Tombstones:
12 months of information concerning Negligent Primate Deaths in U.S. Laboratories
September 2012


Federal reports and internal lab records reveal a nationwide pattern of negligence and federal violations leading to the deaths of 37 primates within thirteen universities and five private labs – based on information which has become available within a period of one year.
Two of the labs have been fined by the USDA (Oregon Health Sciences University, Texas Biomedical Research Institute); three received Official Warnings (Pennsylvania State University Medical School, Rockefeller University, Weill Medical College of Cornell University) and at least five others are known to be the target of ongoing federal investigations (Harvard Medical School, University of Wisconsin, MPI Research, University of Louisiana, and the Bioqual lab).  The University of Wisconsin is the target of a multi-year probe involving at least 41 federal infractions.  One facility, the Pennsylvania State University has announced the total elimination of all use of primates. 
Primates have been strangulated, died of dehydration, run through cage washers, died of traumatic injuries, died during transport, and have simply been lost track of, only to be discovered in a state of decomposition.
Seven of the eight labs which comprise the federally funded National Primate Research Center System, which annually receives over $100 million in federal funding, are embroiled in the primate death epidemic.
Thirteen of the labs are universities, accounting for thirty of the primate deaths; while five private labs account for seven primate deaths.

Primate Lab Deaths from USDA Inspection Reports and Completed enforcement actions

Emory UniversityA 7-19-12 USDA inspection report reveals that following a medical procedure, a rhesus macaque monkey was killed due to being placed in the wrong enclosure.  Additional citations reveal serious issues concerning roach & rodent infestation at the Field Station, which endanger the health of the primates.
Vanderbilt UniversityA 7-16-12 USDA inspection report reveals that a primate received a broken bone serious enough to require euthanasia en route to/from a medical procedure.  Additionally, citations were issued for March & April incidents where several primates were negligently denied water for 36 & 48 hours.  Vanderbilt researchers are also cited for failure to adequately consider alternatives to painful procedures.
Oregon Health Sciences University – Paid $12,000 federal fine 7/12 for the deaths of 5 primates.  2 died due to administration of unapproved toxic compounds, 1 died due to drug overdose, 2 died due to dehydration.  The fine was also relevant to an incident in which 9 primates escaped.
Pennsylvania State University Medical School – USDA issued an Official Warning in June of 2012 for the 2011 primate death due to improper treatment by an untrained research assistant.
Brigham & Women’s Hospital – A 5-16-12 USDA inspection report discloses the strangulation death of a primate.
MPI Research – A 4/10/12 USDA report cites MPI Research for improper animal handling of two primates which led to bone fractures requiring euthanasia.
University of Texas, Galveston An April 16, 2012, USDA report cites the University of Texas, Galveston, for the death of a marmoset. 
Harvard Medical SchoolUSDA reports have disclosed that 1 primate died of a drug overdose (7/9/11), two primates have been reported to have died of dehydration (1/31/12 USDA report, 2nd primate dehydration death listed in Globe story on 2/29/12), while another passed on mysteriously after a routine diagnostic test (12/12/11).  [One primate had previously been discovered deceased in a cage which had been sterilized (6/29/10)].
Covance ResearchA February 14, 2012, USDA inspection report for the Covance Laboratories facility reveals that a primate became entangled in an “enrichment device” and died, possibly by strangulation.
Texas Biomedical Research Institute The USDA announced in February of 2012 that the Texas Biomedical Research Institute paid a $25,714 fine for the death of a juvenile rhesus monkey who spent the night outside in subfreezing temperatures.
Bristol Myers Squibb – A 1-23-12 inspection report disclosed that a primate was left unattended while restrained and died.  This follows an 8-2-11 report which revealed that a primate was left in a cage which went through a cleaning and sterilization process, boiling the monkey alive.
Rockefeller University – A 1-25-12 USDA Inspection report cites the university for the death of a primate due to a faulty collar, while additional citations were issued for projects that purposely deprived primates of water.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University – USDA issued an Official Warning (7/11) for the death of a primate by lung hyperinflation due to negligent use of an anesthetic machine.
Primate Lab Deaths Open Cases Currently Within USDA’s Investigation and Enforcement Services Division
University of Louisiana, Lafayette – Open case for the deaths of 3 primates in transfer chute.
MPI Research – Open Case for traumatic injuries which took the lives of several animals including 2 primates.
Bioqual Laboratory – Open case for chimpanzee death during shipment form Bioqual to University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
University of Wisconsin, Madison – Open case for 41 AWA violations primarily relevant to primates, including several deaths.
Harvard Medical School – A federal investigation is underway relevant to multiple primate deaths at the New England Primate Research Center, which is affiliated with the Medical School.

Information Obtained from Internal facility Records relevant to potential Federal Violations

University of Washington, Seattle – Internal UW records reveal seven primate escapes within fifteen months, one incident where a monkey obtained a pair of scissors, an infant primate who was burned, a probe inadvertently shoved into a primate’s brain causing neurological damage, and a surgical procedure which had to be stopped when a primate vomited and self-extubated. 
One primate who was in for a blood draw was euthanized due to an undiscovered broken femur.  Two monkeys lost eight inches of their tails to amputation following traumatic injuries, while another monkey lost the tips of several fingers.  Five primates had to be euthanized after losing up to 30% of their bodyweight.  UW policy limits debilitation to only a 20% weight loss. 
University of California, Davis – Internal UC Davis veterinary records for primates show one monkey died with a Bungee cord wrapped around her neck, and another dead primate was not noticed until the carcass was found infested with maggots.  The documents also disclose more than a dozen animals were engaging in self-destructive behavior, and several were killed by UC Davis.

Links to Laboratory Pages for Document Retrieval

Emory University GA
Vanderbilt University TN
Oregon Health Science University OR
Pennsylvania State University Medical School PA
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
M P I Research, L.L.C., Mattawan, MI
University of Texas at Galveston, Galveston, TX
Harvard Medical School MA
Covance Research Products WI
Texas Biomedical Research Institute TX
Bristol Myers NJ
Rockefeller University, New York, NY
Weill Medical College, New York, NY
University of Louisiana, Lafayette LA
Bioqual, Inc. MD
University of Wisconsin, Madison WI
University of Washington, Seattle WA
University of California, Davis CA

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