Animal group seeks fine against Max Planck Florida for tree shrew's death
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Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
Director, USDA, Eastern Region
(919) 855-7100
[email protected]
[email protected]


Please LEVY a MAXIMUM FINE against the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) when their negligence killed a tree shrew. This behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

Animal group seeks fine against Max Planck Florida for tree shrew's death
From Jeff Ostrowski,, February 7, 2019

An animal rights group is asking the federal government to impose a $10,000 fine on Max Planck Florida after a mistake during an experiment killed a tree shrew.

Max Planck Florida disclosed the accident to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Institutes of Health in September.

“This deserves the maximum fine because of the carelessness of the staff,” said Stacey Ellison, a research analyst at Stop Animal Exploitation Now of Milford, Ohio. Ellison this week wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the harshest penalty under the Animal Welfare Act.

In its report on the incident last fall, the Jupiter-based nonprofit said a tree shrew — a small, furry animal with a long tail and acute vision — died during anesthesia. During an earlier experiment, a lab worker had switched the oxygen and nitrous oxide lines on the ventilator the shrew was attached to.

In an October letter, an NIH official said Max Planck Florida had adequately addressed the mistake by retraining lab workers and by adding a check of gas lines to the checklist scientists use during surgery.

In a statement, Max Planck Florida said it “implements the highest ethical standards toward all animals in our care. We reported the matter in question to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, Division of Compliance Oversight, who subsequently investigated and closed the case.”

A letter from a Max Planck Florida executive to an official at NIH described the experiment as “terminal,” indicating the tree shrew would have been euthanized had it not died from the surgical mistake.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now learned of the incident through a Freedom of Information Act request. The letters it obtained didn’t disclose the type of experiment being conducted. Max Planck Florida’s scientists specialize in neuroscience.

Given the contentious nature of using animals as research subjects, scientists and administrators at Scripps Florida and Max Planck Florida discuss their use of mice, rats and other mammals only cautiously.

Florida and Palm Beach County lured Max Planck, the renowned German institute, to Jupiter with $188 million in subsidies. The investment was part of former Gov. Jeb Bush’s billion-dollar bet on biotech research.

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