USDA Issues Warning to UL after Monkey Deaths
The United States Department of Agriculture has issued an official warning to the University of Louisiana in regards to its handling of the monkeys at the New Iberia Primate Research Facility.
That warning, issued on January 16, lists August 26, 2021, as the date alleged violations took place at the research facility. That's date is around the same time the USDA investigated the deaths of five baby monkeys at the facility. Those deaths were the result of dehydration.
"The housing facility must have reliable electric power adequate for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting, and for carrying out other
husbandry requirements in accordance with the regulations in this subpart," the warning reads, referring housing facilities subpart of the USDA's regulations. "The housing facility must provide running potable water for the nonhuman primates' drinking needs. It must be adequate for cleaning and for carrying out other husbandry requirements."
"This Official Warning is not to be construed as a final agency action, or as an adjudicated finding of a violation," the document further states. "If (the The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) obtains evidence of any future violation of these federal regulations, APHIS may pursue civil penalties, criminal prosecution, or other sanctions for this alleged violation(s) and for any future violations)."
In October, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked District Attorney Don Landry to investigate the monkeys' deaths. Today, PETA is appealing to the National Institutes of Health to intervene in the case.
"This warning won’t undo the trauma endured by monkeys, but it shows that the University of Louisiana–Lafayette shouldn’t be trusted with even one more penny in taxpayer funding for experiments on animals—and PETA has filed a complaint with the National Institutes of Health, calling on the agency to turn off the money spigot to UL-Lafayette," PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said in a statement. "The university’s obscene neglect resulted in the slow and painful dehydration deaths of five infant rhesus macaques. The deaths—which left five mothers grieving—occurred over two days."
Guillermo also urged UL to move away from primate testing.
"UL-Lafayette should redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methodology that will actually help humans, and we urge officials there to adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Deal," Guillermo said. "This will benefit animals—who are sentient and deserve to live free from suffering inflicted by humans—and promote public health and safety, since monkeys can carry pathogens that pose a risk to humans."