Wednesday, July 28, 2010

USDA: Princeton University Mishandled Lab Primates

A group of primates participating in animal research at Princeton University may have been receiving water at levels below the minimum amount allowed by federal guidelines and also may not have been properly administered painkillers following surgeries, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report obtained yesterday by The Times.

The citations are among 11 procedural violations reported during a routine inspection of the facility, which university officials said houses 15 macaques and 10 marmosets, conducted in June.

According to the report, a copy of which was provided by the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), non-human primates (NHPs) used in the research "at times "¦ are offered water on a schedule that is less than the minimum required."

The other citations charge that the university was negligent in following certain reporting protocols required of animal researchers.

Federal guidelines for the treatment of research animals were established under the Animal Welfare Act, which was originally passed in 1966.

Under the standards, researchers are allowed to use a process known as "water scheduling" or "fluid restriction" wherein water or juice is used as a reward for getting animals to participate in various experiments.

The report also cited Princeton for animals undergoing more than one surgical procedure when research proposals indicated they would only be undergoing one.

However, officials with Princeton chalked up most of the violations to improper maintenance of records.

"Overall, I think most of it was oversight and documentation procedures that we were already aware of and in the process of correcting," said Emily Aronson, a university spokeswoman, yesterday.

Full story here.

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