When Harvard monkeys die, you know something isn't right. Harvard University has been fined $24,000 after monkeys that they were using for animal research in their labs died. On Dec. 18, Newsmax reported that Harvard Medical School was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after the deaths of four monkeys were reported over the past two years.
"The USDA fine cited Harvard for 11 incidents in 2011 and 2012, including several that noted laboratory personnel handling the animals were not properly trained or qualified," Newsmax reports. The elite University has not denied these monkey death cases and, in fact, called the fine "appropriate."
Since these Harvard monkeys died, the school has made some changes. They have hired new staff and were also forced to revamp some of their research procedures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes that the fine (though it may seem insignificant to a school that brings in "$185 million annually in taxpayer funds alone") will help Harvard make a better plan to keep these animals healthy and safe.
"The leadership of the School cares deeply about upholding exemplary standards of care and attributes these outcomes to the excellent work of those members of our community who took aggressive action to institute rigorous quality improvements that benefit animal safety and welfare," the school said in a statement.
If more Harvard monkeys die, more fines will undoubtedly be given. However, it sounds like the school is complying and that their new initiatives are working out.
© Effie Orfanides 2013