Monday, November 28, 2011

Leading U.S. Primate Lab Accused Of Illegal Chimp Breeding

The largest primate research facility in the United States has been accused of breeding chimpanzees in violation of government rules, and possibly the law.

At the heart of the case is whether the New Iberia Research Center systematically broke National Institutes of Health rules while breeding chimpanzees, or simply made a few honest and subsequently corrected mistakes.

However, the NIH branch responsible for investigating the allegations has done so opaquely, with apparent reluctance.

“They’ve signed contracts and grants saying that they won’t use federally owned chimps to breed,” said Kathleen Conlee, animal research program director with the Humane Society, who formally filed the accusations in March with the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services. “We have evidence that they’re breeding federally owned chimps.”

New Iberia and the Humane Society are old adversaries: In 2009, undercover video taken by Humane Society activists led to a government investigation of disturbing Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility, which houses 350 chimpanzees used in disease research. Some of the chimpanzees are owned privately by companies or universities, and others are government owned.

Full story here.

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