Target: Tom Vilsack, United States Department of Agriculture
Goal: Take animal cruelty in research labs more seriously to ensure that cruelty does not continue.
A research lab has been handed down a lax punishment for the deaths of 38 monkeys over a five-year period. The lab has been fined $185,000 and will be shut down for 30 days pending inspection. Experts say that considering the lab’s parent company’s value, which is over $2 million, this fine is a slap on the wrist. Furthermore, the lab will be shut down during the holidays, usually the slowest time of the year for research labs like these. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections during this time will be scheduled rather than random, giving the lab the opportunity to conceal any violations before inspection.
The nine-page complaint against the lab, SNBL USA, alleges a series of violations going back to December of 2011. Most of the deaths were recorded in October of 2013, when the lab shipped over 800 long-tailed macaques from Cambodia to Texas. The complaint alleges that lab veterinarians found the monkeys dehydrated and hungry upon arrival, yet instead of feeding them, they shipped the monkeys off to another facility. Upon arrival, five of the animals were dead due to dehydration and hypoglycemia, while another 17 died over the next few days or had to be euthanized. Later USDA complaints report concerns with inhumane euthanasia and handling procedures.
Careless handling like this should not be punished with a slap on the wrist. Labs that use animals for research are already cruel enough, and should be held to the highest possible standards when it comes to the safe handling and care of the animals. Lax punishments like these will only perpetuate cruelty. Sign below to denounce this slap on the wrist and demand that the USDA take animal welfare at labs more seriously.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
A research lab in Texas has been given a slap on the wrist for the deaths of 38 monkeys over five years. The lab will pay a mere $185,000 in comparison to the $2 million value of its parent company, and it will be shut down over the holidays, a time when research labs are generally at their slowest. Furthermore, USDA inspections will be scheduled instead of random, allowing the lab to conceal possible violations before inspection.
Lax punishments such as these do little to deter animal cruelty. We, the undersigned, denounce this slap on the wrist and demand that animal cruelty in research labs is taken more seriously in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: J. M. Garg