Watchdog group concerned over Pitt reports on primate injuries, deaths
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now



Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
Director, USDA, Eastern Region
(919) 855-7100
[email protected]
[email protected]


Please LEVY a MAXIMUM FINE against University of Pittsburgh for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) when their negligence killed two monkeys, and injured a third. This behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


Watchdog group concerned over Pitt reports on primate injuries, deaths

From Deb Erdley,, October 28, 2019

An Ohio-based research watchdog group has filed a complaint asking the USDA to sanction the University of Pittsburgh for the deaths of two primates and the injury of a third in its animal research programs.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, cited reports that Pitt submitted to the National Institutes of Health in August regarding the incidents.

In one case, Pitt officials reported that a pair of monkeys suffered strangulation injuries when they became entangled in chain collars they were wearing. One died before the two could be separated, while the other animal was treated for bruising about the face.

The university reported that a marmoset in another study had to be euthanized after research staff found that a broken hammock clip had pierced its jaw and caused an infection. Veterinarians amputated two fingers of a second marmoset that was injured after it escaped from its cage.

In university reports to the NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, dated Aug. 23, George Huber, Pitt’s Institutional Officer for Animal Care and Use, reported that Pitt had instituted corrective action plans and USDA had inspected its facilities after the reports were filed and found “no non-compliant items.”

A Pitt spokesman said the university is committed to the highest standards of care for research animals.

Pitt promptly reported the incidents in question to the USDA and instigated corrective action plans, Pitt spokesman Kevin Zwick said.

“While incidents such as these are extremely rare, we strive for continuous improvement to prevent any such occurrence. We will continue to enforce rigorous safeguards to ensure the humane care of all animals involved in scientific and medical research,” Zwick said.

SAEN co-founder Michael A. Budkie took issue with that.

“The deaths and injuries of monkeys at the University of Pittsburgh clearly violate the Animal Welfare Act and deserve the maximum penalty. What does it say about University of Pittsburgh staff if they can’t even keep the animals alive long enough to perform the experiments?” Budkie said.

Huber said all three incidents were reviewed and changes were made that called for additional training of lab staff as well as replacing chain collars with solid ones.

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