An animal rights organization said it has identified 56 apparent violations of federal animal welfare regulations involving more than 1,880 primates.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate what it claims are apparent widespread violations of animal welfare law.
This law was enacted to ensure the safe and legal movement of primates throughout the United States.
The request was made Monday in a letter sent to the USDA by Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of PETA.
The investigation is being called for following the January 21 accident near Danville, Montour Coujnty, in which three of 100 lab funds carried in a trailer escaped, were captured and euthanized by state police.
This incident “propelled the murky world of primate transport into the public eye,” Guillermo wrote.
The 100 long-tailed cynomolgus macaques represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of primates transported across the United States each year, she said.
PETA, through the Freedom of Information Act, received certificates documenting the veterinary inspection required for transporting primates between facilities, she said.
This documentation, which covered a period of 17 months, involved primates from five research centers or dealers in five states, the letter said.
The primates were shipped to nine research centers or intermediate handlers in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to PETA.
He also noted that vehicles carrying the primates passed through several other states.
Facilities they say did not examine the monkeys in the required time frame included Charles River Laboratories, Labcorp Drug Development, National Institutes of Health, Orient BioResource Center, PreLabs and Primera Science Center.
The failure of USDA-certified veterinarians to perform timely inspections of primates poses an enormous risk to them during transport and to the monkeys at the destination facility, the letter states.
“The public health risk to transport, livestock and research personnel is obvious,” PETAS says.
Guillermo urged the agency to not only open an investigation into cases where PETA has documents, but also to open a broader investigation into the scheme of veterinarians, dealers and research facilities that do not meet the requirements. inspection of primate transport.
The monkeys involved in the accident in the Danville area had just arrived in the country from Mauritius, an island off the coast of Africa. They had not been quarantined or tested for pathogens that could endanger humans.
Michele Fallon, the Montour County woman who needed medical attention after coming into contact with the monkeys, says she has made a full recovery.
But she said she remains frustrated because the USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not answered her questions, such as whether any of the monkeys are infected.
Fallon saw the crash on Route 54 at the Interstate 80 interchange and pulled over to help.
She came into direct contact with one of the cynomolgus macaques and was exposed to their saliva, droppings and droppings as she helped straighten the crates containing the primates.
She tested negative for the herpes B virus but had to undergo a series of rabies shots. His right eye was irritated and watery for a moment.
PennLive’s repeated attempts to learn from the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where the other 97 monkeys were quarantined after the crash and if any were infected have failed.
PETA has previously asked the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and USDA to investigate the handling and transportation of primates.
The USDA considers this an “open case,” prohibiting the availability of any material, said Lisa Jones-Engel, the organization’s senior science adviser for primate experimentation.
PETA met with DOT in early March about the larger issue of lack of oversight, awareness, consensus, leadership and consistency when it comes to the movement of apes across the country, she said.
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