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PETA CALLS ON USDA TO INVESTIGATE ONPRC AFTER NINE MONKEYS ESCAPE

Incident Comes on the Heels of a Warning That Primate Center Could Face Civil or Criminal Charges for Noncompliance With Animal Welfare Regulations
For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2009

Contact:
Kathy Guillermo 757-943-7443 (cell);  KathyG@peta.org
David Perle 202-318-1611;  DavidP@peta.org

PETA CALLS ON USDA TO INVESTIGATE ONPRC AFTER NINE MONKEYS ESCAPE
Incident Comes on the Heels of a Warning That Primate Center Could Face Civil or Criminal Charges for Noncompliance With Animal Welfare Regulations

Portland, Ore. — In the wake of reports that nine macaque monkeys escaped from the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), PETA has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to launch an investigation and, if warranted, to levy all appropriate fines and revoke ONPRC's license to experiment on animals.

The monkeys escaped from their cage at ONPRC (which is operated by Oregon Health & Science University) on April 3. One remained at large for two days. PETA's request comes after the USDA cited ONPRC for three violations of the Animal Welfare Act and issued ONPRC an "Official Warning, Violation of Federal Regulations" in December 2008. The USDA's warning to ONPRC came after PETA informed the agency about a climate of abuse, fatal errors, and the denial of medical care to sick animals in the center's laboratories. Among PETA's findings—which the USDA confirmed—were that experimenters had accidentally performed surgery on the wrong monkey, left a surgical sponge inside a baboon, and denied a sick, pregnant monkey veterinary care, which led to her death and the death of her unborn baby.

The USDA's December 2008 warning stated that any future violations of the Animal Welfare Act could result in civil or criminal penalties and that if the Oregon Health & Sciences University "fail[s] to comply with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act in the future, this citation and all past and future documented violations will be used to justify a more severe penalty."

"ONPRC apparently can't even abide by the minimal requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, and animals suffer daily as a result," says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "The best way to protect these monkeys and the public is to revoke ONPRC's license to torment animals."

For more information about ONPRC, please click here.

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