Animal rights group complains of injured monkeys at Alice research supplier
* By Mark Collette
* Corpus Christi Caller Times
* November 28, 2011
ALICE — A group that opposes laboratory research on animals filed a complaint Monday with federal regulators alleging mistreatment of monkeys at a drug development company's facility in Alice.
The group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, cited records from the University of California in San Francisco showing that primates shipped from the facility arrived with injuries including muscle wasting, missing fingers and damaged ears.
Covance, the global drug development service company that owns the facility, responded with a prepared statement saying its U.S. facilities have undergone more than 40 unannounced federal inspections in four years with few instances of noncompliance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the federal agency that inspects animal facilities.
"In the few instances where the USDA report cited areas where they found concerns, Covance has taken all necessary steps to assure that the issues identified by the USDA were thoroughly addressed and resolved," the statement said.
Michael Budkie, director of the watchdog group, said the federal Animal Welfare Act prohibits transporting animals for commerce that are obviously sick or injured.
Of 31 animals cited in the university records, 19 had injuries, Budkie said.
One of the reports involved a monkey that showed signs of self-injury so severe that it had to be euthanized within 24 hours of arrival at the university laboratory, Budkie said.
Budkie filed his complaint with the USDA. Agency spokesman Dave Sacks had not seen the complaint but said the agency usually sends inspectors to facilities in response to such complaints.
Covance's Alice facility supplies macaque monkeys used in laboratory research. It had 13,325 animals in June when the USDA last routinely inspected the site. A USDA review of medical records at the facility showed a recurring problem with frostbite on the tails of many of the animals.
The facility, which uses heated, outdoor enclosures, was in the process of constructing buildings that would provide further protection from the elements, the report said.
The USDA conducted four other routine inspections since 2009 and found no violations.
"Our Alice, Texas, facility has been in operation for more than 35 years and its experienced veterinary staff and technicians provide a healthy and comfortable environment for the animals in our care," the company's statement said.
New Jersey-based Covance has annual revenues of more than $2 billion, with more than 11,000 employees in 60 countries.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
... unlikely to be reported on by the Madison media:
at 3:56 PM