R. Reese Fuller

Group alleges primate abuse

by R. Reese Fuller

The animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now alleges that UL Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center's negligence and inadequate care have led to the deaths of nine primates. In a statement issued yesterday, the Ohio-based group announced that it had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture demanding a federal investigation into the center. In 2005, the group launched an investigation into NIRC, citing negligence and inadequate care of the primates.

According to its website, the NIRC "specializes in the breeding, management, and importation of a diverse range of nonhuman primate species and offers a broad range of diagnostic, laboratory, and human resources for the development and characterization of nonhuman primate models for applied and basic research aimed at promoting human quality of life."

But Michael Budkie, SAEN's executive director, says his group has obtained internal documents that prove the center is ignoring the primates and "allowing them to die from undiagnosed or inadequately treated conditions."

In this letter to the USDA, Budkie writes:
It is clear that the staff (of NIRC) systematically ignores illnesses in primates allowing them to be diagnosed only at death. I request you initiate action to levy the most substantial fine allowable (and) suspend projects which involve repeat violations ...
A call placed to the NIRC was redirected to the university's public relations office, which had not responded by the time of this post.