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Primate Death Spurs Citations

The USDA cites a Harvard Medical School research facility after a second accidental primate death in a little over a year.

Aug 19, 2011
Jessica P. Johnson

Harvard Medical SchoolWIKIMEDIA, DRSAMIR

Citations issued by the US Department of Agriculture last year failed to prevent another animal death at the New England Primate Research Center (NEPRC), a facility of the Harvard Medical School, reports the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. A research primate was euthanized after it was given an accidental overdose of anesthesia that caused renal failure. The incident elicited a citation from the USDA for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, just one year after the facility was cited five times for similar offenses, including the discovery of a dead monkey in a cage that had been run through an automatic cage washer.

After the 2010 citations were issued, the NEPRC retrained staff, implemented additional monitoring by administrators, and reevaluated primate health. Similarly, last month the staff were given additional training by facility veterinarians after the death, and the USDA now considers the matter corrected.  However, four other animal welfare citations were issued at the same time, including inadequate staff supervision, inadequate housing of animals, unsanitary operating room conditions, and conducting unapproved procedures on research animals. These matters are still under investigation by the USDA.

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