R. Reese Fuller

UL on the defensive

by R. Reese Fuller

Yesterday, UL Lafayette officials held a press conference at the New Iberia Research Center to address allegations of primate abuse raised recently by the Humane Society of the United States and aired on Nightline.

The headline of an article today in The Advocate reads: "Chimp abuse denied."

Though ULL and research center officials were contacted by ABC Nightline in February about the allegations, Wednesday was the first time they viewed the footage.

Julie Dronet, ULL public relations director, said the segment was a “gotcha” story and that ABC Nightline was not upfront about its footage or the allegations.

On Thursday, ULL and NIRC officials called a news conference to respond to the footage that ULL President Joseph Savoie described as “disturbing” to watch without the context provided by research staff. The center and university maintained its defense of its practices and animal care.

In its piece, "UL fights back," The Advertiser notes: "Not all areas of NIRC, including some of its indoor housing, were included in Thursday's tour. Officials said some labs were off-limits for medical reasons."

The university also said that it will fully cooperate with the USDA's investigation of animal welfare practices at NIRC.