USDA cites MPI for two additional deaths; Watchdog Group Calls for Additional Citations, OIG Investigation and releases internal USDA investigative documents
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Contact: Michael Budkie, SAEN www.saenonline.org, [email protected], (513) 575-5517
Attn: Assignment Desk
MATTAWAN/KALAMAZOO, MI – SAEN, a national research watchdog organization is releasing a recent USDA report which cites the MPI Research for the deaths of two additional primates due to traumatic injuries.
The 4/10/12 USDA report cites MPI Research for Inadequate veterinary care, Improper record
Keeping, Improper animal handling, and Inadequate enclosures. The most serious of the violations reveals improper handling of two primates which led to fractures requiring euthanasia.
However, SAEN is holding not only MPI Research but also the USDA responsible for the additional animal deaths.
"A pattern of lax enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act by the USDA's Eastern Regional Office is emerging, and this lax enforcement is causing additional animal deaths," said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director SAEN. "Why hasn't MPI already been fined for the previous animal deaths? The additional deaths of these two primates could have been prevented."
In a letter to the USDA's Eastern Regional Office, SAEN is calling for additional citations for MPI, including a violation of section 2.32 Personnel Qualifications. Additionally, SAEN is releasing USDA internal records relevant to the ongoing investigation of four animal deaths at MPI.
SAEN's correspondence to the USDA's Eastern Regional Director, Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyre states: "I believe that the handling of this previous incident has been improperly slow, and that meaningful enforcement actions should have been taken much more quickly in response to the first of these deaths.
It is possible that if a meaningful penalty had been issued, that changes could have been instituted at MPI which would have prevented the additional deaths. Therefore, I believe that your office may be just as responsible for the additional deaths of these primates as MPI's negligent staff."
As a result of the inadequate handling of the investigation of MPI, as well as a lack of meaningful enforcement actions against other labs that have killed animals ( Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Rockefeler University, etc.) SAEN has requested an investigation by the USDA's Office of the Inspector General of the USDA's Eastern Office's enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act in labs.