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Harvard Medical School fined for animal welfare violations

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The United States Department of Agriculture fined Harvard Medical School for animal welfare violations in the deaths of four research monkeys since 2011 reports Reuters.

The institution was fined $24,036 for violating the Animal Welfare Act, (AWA) which sets minimum acceptable standards for humane care and treatment of animals involved in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. The fine came after a lengthy investigation of the mistreatment of monkeys in the Southborough, Mass. laboratory.

Harvard plans to close the Southborough facility later this year.

In Feb. 2011, one monkey died from an anesthetic overdose which resulted in liver failure. Two other monkeys died from being deprived of water, and one monkey died as the chain to his toy became wrapped around his neck - strangling him. There were 11 incidents including personnel mishandling the monkeys.

Although Harvard Medical School stated the fines were fair, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) disagree stating the $185 million the school receives from taxpayer money and that half of that is used to experiment on live animals, will have little effect on the school treating the animals in a more humane manner.

"It's beyond belief to hear that so many animals are still used in lab experiments," stated Barb Conlan of Boca Raton, Fla. "With all the technology and options medical schools have nowadays, and all the horrible stories we hear or have seen through media of wires and electrodes sticking out of animals' heads and the suffering they must have endured, is sickening, inhumane, and beyond animal cruelty. When will this ever stop?"

Harvard said it has already revamped and set different protocols for the treatment of their lab animals.

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