Recent USDA reports have revealed that the use of non-human primates in laboratories has reached an all-time high with 62,315 primates falling under the knife in 2006. At the same time violations of the Animal Welfare Act by laboratories have increased by over 90% in the last five years, the research watchdog group SAEN said today.
Nationally known labs continue to break federal laws with impunity. Vanderbilt broke the law 63 times in 3 ½ years (including depriving a primate of water and running a rabbit through a cage washer). The University of Pennsylvania leads the nation with 70 violations in two years.
Harvard has violated federal law 46 times in 3 years, receiving an official warning for killing a cat with improper anesthesia. Emory University has been fined $15,000 for killing a primate with improper anesthesia. The University of Wisconsin is also on the worst list, with 20 federal infractions. A primate project at the University of Washington has been terminated by federal regulators for performing unapproved surgeries. These labs are part of the 8-facility National Primate Research Center System, which is connected to over $1.2 Billion in federally funded research, an 8 year increase of 700%.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals has been fined $26,000 for federal violations. Santa Cruz Biotechnology has been cited repeatedly for draining the blood of chronically diseased goats. Merck and Covance have been placed among the top violators of federal law. SNBL Corporation (WA) killed 20 primates through improper housing.
USDA regulation is utterly ineffective, as this agency can’t even add report statistics correctly, issuing a 2005 report which listed only 740 primates used in tests for the state of North Carolina even though Wake Forest University alone used 1,318 primates, said SAEN.
“More primates are suffering in labs than ever before and the USDA is powerless to protect them” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN. "Hell, they can't even count them correctly. Additionally, the USDA is utterly ineffective at making labs tell the truth about the experiments they are performing.”
He said labs in 16 states that experiment on approximately 34,000 primates supposedly only subjected 99 of them – or, less than one-half of one percent – to any unrelieved pain. The labs would include nationally known facilities at Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Tulane, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, University of Alabama, University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt, University of Oklahoma (Health Sciences Center), Washington University and Wake Forest.
SAEN has contacted the Office of Daniel Levinson, Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services to demand an investigation and audit of the National Primate Research Center System. “The federal government continues to pour an ever-increasing flow of grants into labs that are incapable of following even the most basic federal laws," Budkie concluded.Contact: Michael Budkie, SAEN, 513-575-5517; 513-703-9865 (cell)