Oct 21, 2009 11:44 AM by sleonard

Animal activists file complaint

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - More complaints of animal neglect have been made against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center.
For the second time this year, an animal rights group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
A complaint claiming similar neglect made in January by the group was determined to be unfounded by USDA inspectors during a March visit, said Dave Sacks, USDA agency spokesman.
Sacks said the agency takes every complaint seriously and each is reviewed by inspectors.
The university also said it will review the records cited in Michael Budkie's letter to the USDA, according to a statement released by ULL on Tuesday.
"Budkie routinely and frequently alleges animal welfare violations at universities and other research facilities around the country," the statement says.
Budkie, the animal rights group's executive director, said his group may file an average of 20 complaints a year with the USDA as part of its review of public records obtained via the Freedom of
Information Act.
His complaint against the ULL research center is based on a review of health records of nearly 1,500 animals at the center between November 2007 and October 2008.
"Overall, the animals and incidents discussed indicate inadequate observation of these animals and inadequate treatment, if not veterinary negligence," Budkie said.
The most complete data obtained was from a colony of nearly 600 rhesus monkeys showed a high incidence of the intestinal condition enteritis, Budkie said.
The records show that at least 24 animals died related to enteritis between November 2007 and October 2008, he said.
Budkie said he believes the animals' conditions went undiagnosed or were not properly treated.
The disease is common in facilities throughout the country, Budkie said in his complaint to the USDA.
He also questioned the high infant mortality rate of the same colony.
He cited 2007 birth statistics that included 121 births and 28 abortions/stillbirths, as well as 20 deaths of animals under the age of one.
The New Iberia Research Center houses the nation's largest number of chimpanzee more than 300 that are used for biomedical research. It also houses more than 6,000 various types of primates.

--- Information from: The Advocate,
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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