University of Texas research center accused of mishandling primates, allegation denied
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now



Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region USDA/APHIS/A
2150 Center Ave. Building B
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Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against the University of Texas, Medical Branch, Galveston, for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their ineptitude allowed several monkeys to die without euthanasia. Their utter disregard for the animals and the Animal Welfare Act CANNOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Please levy the maximum fine allowable under the Animal Welfare Act.


University of Texas research center accused of mishandling primates, allegation denied
By John Breslin, SE Texas Record, May 15, 2017

LEAGUE CITY An animal rights organization is accusing a research center attached to a Texas university of mishandling primates, leading to their inhumane deaths.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) filed an official complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against the University of Texas, Medical Branch.

Michael Budkie, SAEN's executive director, alleges proper protocols were not followed before two primates died during experiments, rather than being humanely put down.

Federal regulations state that animals should be euthanized before they die from the effects of the disease being studied. The medical branch studies some of the most dangerous diseases in the world, including Ebola.

"UTMB has clearly demonstrated that they are unable to follow even the most basic federal regulations," Budkie told The Record. "This lab deserves the most severe punishment that the USDA can muster."

Budkie said he was told by the USDA that an investigation has started. He added that the deaths were referred to in a recent article published by Translational Medicine, an offshoot of Science magazine.

While the article states that researchers followed National Institutes of Health policy on animal care, and other federal regulations, Budkie's organization describes the fatalities as "illegal." He wants the article to be retracted.

The article stated that two primates had "succumbed," but that two others were euthanized during the research.

UTMB spokesman Raul Reyes said there is no investigation and accused SAEN of making "false and misleading statements," according to the Houston Chronicle.

The university's medical branch has faced a number of federal investigations by various agencies, and was fined $33,000 in November after it was found to have mishandled guinea pigs, resulting in their deaths.

The Office of Laboratory and Animal Welfare (OLAW), an arm of the NIH, did investigate UTMB and issued a report stating that the conditions of animal care did not meet guidelines. But the OLAW reported again in March that UTMB was in compliance with animal-welfare laws and regulations.

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