An animal rights group filed a complaint Tuesday, claiming that USF neglected and mistreated research monkeys, resulting in the deaths of five monkeys.
The complaint, lodged with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was made by Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, which claimed it received a report from an anonymous source on May 30 stating that five primates used in diabetic research by the Department of Internal Medicine died in a two-week period. Officials from health sciences denied mistreating the animals but confirmed that five animals had died since May from various chronic conditions.
SAEN is asking the USDA to conduct an official investigation. The group also filed a request with USF's Division of Comparative Medicine on Tuesday asking for all primate health care records, including post-mortem paperwork. The division oversees the care of research animals at USF.
"If what we have been told is true, and I can only assume it is, then there is a problem at the University of South Florida," said Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN. "To have five primates die in a period of a couple of weeks, reportedly due to neglect, is a very serious allegation, and we think that it is something that should be looked into immediately."