Two monkeys die in ‘tragic accident’ at controversial OHSU primate research facility
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Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
(970) 494-7478
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Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Oregon Health & Science University for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence killed two monkeys in a cage-washing machine. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


Two monkeys die in ‘tragic accident’ at controversial OHSU primate research facility

From K. Rambo,, August 29, 2020

Two more monkeys have died at the controversial OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center in what researchers described as a “tragic accident” in an internal email obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

A technician put a 6-foot-tall rack of monkey cages into a cage-washing machine and started it without realizing two adult rhesus macaques, often referred to as rhesus monkeys, were still locked in one of the top cages on Aug. 13. The mistake resulted in the death of both monkeys. One had been in the facility for 12 years, the other for 18 years.

“These dedicated individuals develop strong bonds with the animals entrusted to their care -- often for many years, and, in some cases, decades – so, the accidental death of any animal is deeply distressing and their passing is grieved by all -- we deeply regret that this accident occurred,” an OHSU release said Friday.

OHSU Chief Research Officer Peter Barr-Gillespie is commissioning an external review of hiring, training and safety operations and said the specific incident was under internal investigation, according to the release.

“The technician quickly realized the error and immediately called veterinary staff for help, but one monkey died and the second was later humanely euthanized,” the release from OHSU said. “All cage washing immediately ceased and the director of animal care and use, Vickie Jarrell, Ph.D., was notified.”

The release, titled “OHSU grieves loss of two nonhuman primates,” also said the technician “had successfully completed OHSU’s intensive training and mentoring processes for all those involved in animal care.”

OHSU’s use of animals in testing, particularly monkeys, has been the subject of lawsuits, complaints and protests for years. Stop Animal Exploitation Now, based in Ohio, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2019 after the death of a primate.

“OHSU’s death toll continues to climb without pause,” Michael Budkie, executive director of the animal welfare group, said in a statement at the time. “This laboratory has reached new heights of fatal incompetence.”

In October 2018, the animal rights group PETA asked the USDA to shut down animal testing at OHSU and in 2019, PETA sued OHSU.

A Multnomah County judge ordered the facility to turn over footage of experiments being done last month, the Willamette Week reported.

Haigwood said the university posted all of its inspection reports online as soon as they are available.

The university keeps roughly a half-million animals for research, mostly rodents and fish. Nearly 5,000 primates are housed at the research center in Beaverton, where researchers conduct a wide range of animal research, including treatment for alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, new cancer therapies and vaccines against COVID-19, HIV, human papillomavirus and tuberculosis.

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