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Harvard monkeys die: 11 animal welfare violations, monkeys used in AIDS research

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Did Harvard monkeys die while in medical study at the Ivy League institution? A total of 11 animal welfare violations have been set against Harvard Medical School this week involving the misuse of primates over research between early 2011 to mid 2012. The U.S. Department of Agriculture received $24,036 in payment for the violations against these monkeys (used for studies ranging from AIDS to cancer research) within that time frame. UPI.com shares the details on this sad discovery this Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013.

Not all the Harvard monkeys died in the study, but at least four of the violations made explicit mentions of the death of these primates. It was said that one of the animals was killed by overuse of anesthesia, while another died after becoming irreparably trapped within a toy chain. Finally extreme dehydration was cited as the cause of death in the euthanizing of the last two primates. The fines were incurred over a period of research from Feb. 2011 and July 2012.

“The leadership of the school cares deeply about upholding exemplary standards of care,” Harvard said in a statement on the sad matter.

While not all of the reasons behind the roughly $24,000 in damages was ordered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been made clear, what is known is that the violations occurred at Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center. These innocent animals were said to be under the discretion of scientists in the research of colon cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and several other detrimental illnesses as experts continue looking for a cure. Harvard University confirmed earlier this 2012 that the facility would likely close down as early as 2015 due to an overall lack of funding.

Justin Goodman, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals, noted in a statement, however, that the fine over the 11 welfare violations won't ultimately change Harvard's practices. He adds this on the Harvard monkeys die case being brought to light this week:

“For an institution that receives $185 million annually in taxpayer funds alone, half of which is spent on animal experiments, a $24,000 fine for years of abusing and neglecting monkeys won’t motivate Harvard to do better by animals … Thankfully, the school already recognizes that tormenting monkeys is not the future of science and made the laudable decision to completely shut down [the experimental animal research facility].”

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