Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lovelace labs face federal violations after monkey dies

Updated 5pm

Recently obtained federal reports reveal major violations of the Animal Welfare Act within the labs of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, according to the national research watchdog group Stop Animal Exploration Now (SAEN).

The 9 violations amassed by Lovelace in just 1 year include unqualified personnel, inadequate veterinary care, inadequate housing, and inadequate monitoring of experiments by Lovelace’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

According to government reports, a May 2008 inspection cited the Albuquerque lab inadequate housing of primates based on an incident in which a primate died with his/her head trapped between a perch and the wall of the cage. Another incident involved an infant primate that had escaped from the cage.

Here's the information on the female Cynomologus monkey death, on March 27, 2008, from the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection report. Details attached below.

More recent inspection reports cited the lab for further issues involving improper housing of primates. The facility was also cited for using an improper anesthetic regimen for a procedure involving a rabbit which resulted in injuries to the technician performing the procedure.

“Negligence at Lovelace took the life of a female monkey and caused injuries to their own staff” SAEN's Executive Director Michael A. Budkie said. “This facility should face serious consequences, but the USDA is allowing them to literally get away with murder,” he said.

“If Lovelace researchers can’t even keep the animals in the cages, then something is seriously wrong. How can any of the research results from this facility be given any credence whatsoever,” Budkie said.

We will post the lab reports after we finish reviewing them.

Updated - 5pm

We received this statement statement from Lovelace Lab's President and CEO Robert W. Rubin:
The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute undertakes hundreds of research projects a year designed to cure human disease. In some of these studies, animal models are used. LRRI is routinely inspected by the USDA, the FDA, NRC, the CDC, NIH and more. Each incident is examined and animal husbandry procedures are immediately modified as suggested by the agency.

... SAEN['s] most recent attacks have centered on the world renowned New Iberia Primate Research facility in Louisiana and the University of California at San Francisco. These organizations have also attacked leading scientists by name, endangering their lives and the lives of their families. Now it appears they have added LRRI to their list of nationally recognized institutions to unjustly attack.
This is the link to the lab reports that we reviewed documenting the violations.

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1 comment:

Natalie said...

Unjustly attack? Really? They may be overzealous but the fact remains that an animal died and federal violations ensue.
If they were doing the right thing in the first place, they wouldn't have to "modify" their animal husbandry procedures. Common sense and compassion should prevail but I guess the only way someone could do a job that requires potentially hurting animals in order to further research is to treat them like a piece of meat or just another experiment.
I understand that research is necessary but can never understand why we must employ awful procedures and/or neglectful standards to get to the necessary information.