Officials take no action after death of primate at UL research facility

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Please contact Dr. Robert Gibbens to demand a major fine against the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, for fatally electrocuting one primate and fracturing a limb of another monkey.

Dr. Robert Gibbens
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Officials take no action after death of primate at UL research facility

By Staff Writers,, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Federal officials will take no action in response to accidents that resulted in the death of a primate and the amputation of another primate's hind limb at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center last year.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now! says the UL incidents are part of a pattern of negligence and abuse in U.S. research facilities. The group filed an official complaint with the USDA. They are calling for a major penalty to be brought down on the university.

"There was a very significant electrical problem with this enclosure. The current was so strong that the monkey was killed and the situation was not alleviated before staff went in to retrieve the animals body and they were electrically shocked as well," said SAEN Co-founder and Executive Director Michael Budkie.

According to Ramesh Kolluru, Ph.D., vice president for Research at the University, many improvements were subsequently made. "Heaters were used in outdoor closures without incident when temperatures dropped earlier this fall," he said.

The second incident occurred in November 2013. A lab technician was attempting to capture a 2-year-old female pigtail macaque for a routine check-up. During the attempt, the tech grabbed the animals hind leg, which resulted in a fracture.

Due to the animal's age and the extent of its injuries, NIRC's veterinary staff determined that amputation of the hind limb was the best course of action. The animal made a full recovery and was returned to social housing with the other members of its peer group.

On two separate occasions dating back to 2010, UL paid a fine for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Budkie says the public should be concerned for the fact that animals are being abused and that our tax dollars and are paying for it.

"We want the general public to know all is not well with animal laboratories within the United States," said Budkie. "When laboratories are incapable of even following the minimum regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, the concept that they could be providing any kind of information, which would be useful for science, is simply ludicrous."

The university says both incidents were self-reported in an appropriate time and that the issues were addressed and corrected. They said they re-trained after each incident and that new standard operating procedures were created. 

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