USDA files second complaint in seven years against Santa Cruz Biotechnology USDA alleges laundry list of violations at labs

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USDA files second complaint in seven years against Santa Cruz Biotechnology USDA alleges laundry list of violations at labs

By Calvin Men, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Thursday, November 11, 2014 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a 10-page complaint against Santa Cruz Biotechnology alleging more than a dozen violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Among the violations in the complaint were incidences at the Delaware Avenue laboratory listed in September 2012 of not ensuring procedures with animals avoided or minimized discomfort, failure to establish adequate veterinary care and lack of nutritious, uncontaminated food for the animals.

The complaint isn't the first filed by USDA against the company.

In July 2012, the federal agency filed a complaint alleging a number of violations from inspections spanning from 2007 to 2012, which included problems handling animals, inadequate veterinary care and unqualified personnel. That initial complaint has yet to be resolved, according to Michael Budkie, executive director for the Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

In the most recent complaint, USDA officials cited numerous times where the company failed to approve or require modifications of the care and use of animals in ongoing activities.

The report continues to list violations throughout the remainder of 2012, 2013 and half of 2014, including failure to review and implement required modifications and changes for the care and use of animals.

Officials at Santa Cruz Biotechnology also failed to allow officials to inspect and document a specific facility at the Delaware Avenue location.

Officials at Santa Cruz Biotechnology, which has offices in Dallas, Shanghai and Heidelberg, Germany, could not be reached to comment.

USDA officials could not be reached to comment either.

The 2012 complaint has yet to be resolved, according to Budkie. Having a second complaint filed before the first one is resolved is unprecedented, said Budkie, who has worked in the animal rights field since 1986.

"We feel that this is a demonstration that the USDA is taking the situation at Santa Cruz Biotechnology seriously and it is making a major effort to put an end to the animal abuse, which has clearly been underway at Santa Cruz Biotech for multiple years," Budkie said.

Budkie said the USDA has the option to fine the company $10,000 per infraction per animal.

Given that there were two complaints and a laundry list of infractions "either one of those could end up in six-figure fines," Budkie said.

If officials at Santa Cruz Biotech don't file a response to the complaint or admit to the violations, a hearing will be slated.

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