Just five months after a lab monkey was boiled alive in a testing lab belonging to the New York-based pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb — the monkey had been left locked in its cage which was then submerged in scalding water for cleaning — the company has received another citation from the USDA for abuse of animals.
Back in December, a second crab-eating macaque died in the company’s New Brunswick facility, after being restrained and left unattended.†Bristol-Myers spokeswoman Jennifer Fron-Mauer confirmed the USDA’s report about the monkey’s death without confirming specific details of its death or its gender, says†to†NJ.com.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) filed a complaint against Bristol-Myers with the USDA after reports of the monkey killed in its cage surfaced in January. In response to the death of a second monkey in the pharmaceutical’s company’s facilities, SAEN executive director Michael Budkie said:
“One primate death, you could attribute to a fluke, but when you start to see multiple primate deaths within the same facility, this becomes what can only be described as a pattern of negligence. And if they canít do basic things like staying with the animal when it is restrained or making sure there isnít an animal in the cage before it is put in the cage washer, you have to question their ability to do anything scientific. … This calls in to question the validity of any kind of testing they are doing.”
The USDA has been contacted as it enforces the†1966†Animal Welfare Act.†Dave Sacks, a USDA spokesman, noted that the repeated deaths of monkeys in testing labs is indeed “certainly something that gets our attention.”
The citation of Bristol-Myers by the USDA could lead to a formal investigation as well as fines — and it ought also to raise questions among the general public about the safety and supervision that the company dedicates, or does not, to its testing procedures involving animals. If the company did not use animals in its testing labs, such abuses as the two macaques suffered could be avoided.
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