Harvard monkeys die and the prestigious university has now been hit with a massive fine for their part in the negligent deaths of the monkeys. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced that they have 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, says a Dec. 18 Reuters report via Yahoo! News.
The below text is an excerpt from the USDA's report regarding the deaths of the Harvard monkeys:
CITATION AND NOTIFICATION OF PENALTY
We believe that you violated the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.)
(AWA), as described below.
Date of Violation: February 20, 2011
9 C.F.R. § 2.32(a) Personnel qualifications. All employees involved with animal
care must be properly trained and qualified to perform their duties.
During a survival operative procedure on a nonhuman primate (NHP),
the anesthetist increased the dose of anesthesia for a NHP in response
to monitoring parameters, but did not later adjust to a lower
maintenance dose, which caused acute renal failure. The NHP was
euthanized because of the renal failure.
Date of Violation: October 7, 2011
9 C.F.R. § 2.38(f)(1) Miscellaneous. Handling. Handling of all animals shall be
done as expeditiously and carefully as possible in a manner that does not cause
trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or
A NHP escaped from its enclosure when a research staff member was
removing the animal for transport to another room for an imaging
procedure. The NHP was recovered using a hand-held net.
The various Harvard fines entail 11 violations that occurred from February 2011 through July 2012, including four Harvard monkey deaths.
After a long investigation of Harvard's animal facilities, the government decided to penalize Harvard for the violations.
As reported by the Boston Globe, all of the Harvard monkeys died at Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center in Southborough. After investing significant resources to improve care and staff oversight, Harvard made a statement in April that it plans to largely shut the center down by 2015. Harvard’s much smaller animal facility in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, with 45 monkeys, will remain open.
Harvard has took responsibility for the death of the monkeys and the university said it agreed with the USDA's fine. The incidents, most of which were previously reported, had already caused Harvard to revamp some of its research procedures and make some staffing changes, the report reads.
"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," it said.
When Harvard monkeys die, it can be expected that PETA will speak on the issue and they issued the following statement:
"For an institution that receives $185 million annually in taxpayer funds alone, half of which is used for experiments on animals, a $24,000 fine for years of abusing and neglecting monkeys won't motivate Harvard to do better," PETA said.