South Carolina Lab Under Fire for Gruesome Primate Deaths
A South Carolina lab is back in the spotlight over the negligent deaths of at least 18 monkeys, if not more.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) has filed a complaint against Alpha Genesis Inc., a lab and breeding facility, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citing issues that were reported to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2011 and 2012, among other incidents, and is calling for a federal fine.
According to records obtained by SAEN, five primates died from hyperthermia (overheating), while four died of hypothermia and still another nine died from traumatic injuries or “evisceration,” which SAEN argues constitute violations of the Animal Welfare Act. One primate was described as having a puncture wound with intestines coming out, while dozens of others were missing parts of their tails and entire appendages.
“Primates at Alpha Genesis are clearly suffering from major traumatic injuries, heat, cold, and other totally unnecessary deaths,” said SAEN’s executive director Michael A. Budkie in a press release. “It is time for the USDA to take meaningful action against this recalcitrant facility which allows so many animals to be injured or die unnecessarily.”
The USDA cited the company for the deaths of five primates and temperature issues were resolved, but Budkie believes the company has clearly violated the law and should be penalized for it and that there are potentially more problems that should be investigated – at best Alpha Genesis could be fined $10,000 for every preventable violation. He added that the list of more than 100 monkey deaths in 2012 alone may only be a partial list, counting only those who are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reports the Island Packet.
The facility is currently home to an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 primates, 1,500 of whom are funded by the NIH. Ultimately, SAEN would like to see this place, and others like it, shut down.
Budkie asks a pertinent question: “If they can’t perform basic functions to keep these animals alive, like the basic functions of monitoring if it’s too hot or cold, then why do we think they can do science?”
Some seem to put blind faith in animal testing, arguing that researchers care about these animals and that the ultimate goal of improving human health trumps the suffering of countless victims used in experimentation, but does it? How many labs have to be exposed for negligence and abuse before the industry shifts gears and makes a greater investment in non-animal alternatives? How many redundant and pointless experiments will continue to get funding? How many more preventable deaths will be written off as acceptable loss?
In honor of the millions of animals who have suffered and died in experiments and those who were never even counted, activists will be remembering their lives and deaths on Sunday May 26 for SAEN’s fourth International Day of Mourning for Animals in Labs.
To see if there is an event in your area, or to register your own, check here.
Photo credit: Thinkstock