Harvard monkeys die due to an anesthetic overdose, deprivation of water, and strangulation, and Harvard Medical School considers the $24,000 fine for four dead monkeys "appropriate." The Harvard monkeys did not die in the name of medical research but negligence by caretakers. According to a Dec. 18, 2013, Reuters report, “the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it has fined Harvard Medical School $24,000 for repeated animal welfare violations at its research facilities that resulted in the deaths of four monkeys since 2011.”
All four Harvard monkeys died at Harvard's lab in Southborough in Massachusetts. The facility, which conducts studies of illnesses including AIDS, colon cancer, and Parkinson’s disease, is still open even though the lab was supposed to close this year due to funding.
One monkey died of liver failure after a laboratory worker overdosed the monkey with an anesthetic. Two monkeys died of dehydration because they were deprived of water, and a fourth monkey died after a chain attached to a toy in its cage wrapped around its neck and strangled him.
In addition to the deaths of the four monkeys, federal inspectors also observed signs of physical and psychological suffering in other animals at Harvard Medical School.
“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.”
Harvard receives $185 million in taxpayer funds per year. Half of that money is being used for experiments on animals.
In response to the USDA’s fine for the four Harvard monkeys that died and other animal rights violations, the institution commented in a statement that it already changed some of its research procedures and made some staffing changes. However, animal rights groups are saying that the USDA’s fine will have very little effect on the treatment of research animals at Harvard Medical School.