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Harvard monkeys die: Fatal entanglement at Harvard, other crimes cited in case

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Having Harvard monkeys die under medical watch at a school with such phenomenally bright students appears impossible at first, but at least four primate deaths — with the latest updates in terms of causes ranging from fatal entanglement with a chain to chemical power washing — have been cited in a recent case the University has been charged with this month. A total of 11 violations of animal health and welfare breaches were filed against the school due to wrongful vivisection (animal testing) accounts that amounted up to over $24,000 in fines. WebProNews shares the most recent information regarding this inhumane cruelty toward these helpless animals during experimentation at the New England educational center this Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013.

Four Harvard monkeys died while being studied at Harvard University within the 2011 and 2012 school year, whereas at least seven others suffered substantial poor treatment during that period. Not all of these monkey species involved are known at this time, but at least two of them included seriously endangered primates, the cotton-top tamarins, as well as Macaque monkeys.

The fine was only a relatively small $24,000, though the animal welfare violation charge has done its work in alerting people across the U.S. this week to the infractions being set against these animals at the primate testing facility at Harvard. Due to the New England Primate Research Center’s poor funding and lack of successful results, it will be mostly closed down this 2015. Any fine at all is considered quite rare for an institution, so animal rights activists feel it is at least a step in the right direction.

While many ask how did Harvard monkeys die while being studied, the actual cause of deaths among these four primates in the 11 within the animal welfare violations are truly tragic. Fatal entanglement was cited as one after an animal became painfully bound in a toy that soon constricted it like a chain. At least two others were euthanized for severe dehydration; in one case, a watering device malfunctioned, while in another, a researcher forgot to give it water.

It is said that experts’ oversight or a lack of training contributed to the deaths. Another horrific case is that of power chemical washing, with one monkey even dying from being locked in a cage while it was thrown into a washer.

“How could someone not notice a monkey in a cage before loading the cage into a washer?” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., the PCRM physician and Harvard graduate who submitted the petition. “Harvard administrators claim that the primate facility has improved standards, but monkeys continue to suffer in captivity and die painful deaths. We believe there is a serious ongoing risk for tamarins and all primates at the laboratory.”

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