News: Related News

Yerkes hit with $15,000 penalty

October 11, 2007 • Posted in Related News

Emory Wheel, 10/01/07—Project R&R’s response: Theo Capaldo, EdD, President

Emory University’s standards of educational excellence would never allow a faculty member with repeated and documented inadequacies, non-compliance with educational standards, or violations of ethical and legal contracts to continue to teach. Yet Emory allows its affiliated research facility, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, to continue to exist even with its ongoing history of non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Emory’s double standard is suspect. Could it be that Emory tolerates Yerkes’ standards of far less than excellence in laboratory animal care, because Yerkes markets animals for research and brings the University millions of dollars$11 million in ‘06 alone? (The Sunshine Project database) Or could it be that no one at Emory is paying attention to Yerkes, even if someone should be? Or perhaps, if someone is paying attention, is it simply that no one at Emory cares that Yerkes has been cited by the USDA for repeated and multiple violations resulting in injury, suffering, and unnecessary animal deaths?

In light of Yerkes’ ongoing and most disturbing list of AWA non-compliance, Newbern’s statement that Yerkes is committed to providing humane care to its research animals rings hollow. If this is the best Yerkes can do, then someone at Emory needs to hold Yerkes accountable. The reputation of Emory itself is at stakea university should never tolerate its own reputation being soiled by the dismal animal care reputation of its laboratories.

And, oh, did I also mention that no one should ever even remotely tolerate that while Yerkes is touting its commitment to “providing humane care,” it is in fact doing a miserably poor job of providing humane care and instead causing senseless suffering such as:

  • the death of a macaque which an inspector cited as having been contributed to by inadequate personnel qualifications and problems with the program of veterinary care (USDA Inspection Report July 11, 2006)
  • using duct tape to restrain monkeys, making an inspector note: “Poor understanding of humane methods” (USDA Inspection Report June 14, 2005)
  • the suffering of young 10-year-old Dover, a chimpanzee who died due to improper ventilation in a “stainless steel box with solid flooring, roof, rear and sides” (USDA Inspection Report August 25, 2004)
  • the death of Sellers, another chimpanzee (USDA Official Warning Letter to Yerkes 2001)
  • or that a “significant percentage” of the macaques at Yerkes Field Station were reported as being “partially or entirely bald” (USDA Inspection report March 28-30, 2000)a sure sign of significant problems or
  • the death of a squirrel monkey who was sent through a cage washer (USDA Report of Investigation Feb. 10, 1997)

Sadly, the list goes on and on. Emory should be taking this all very seriously, because with its long list of never-ending atrocities, Yerkes apparently is not.

Theodora Capaldo, EdD, President

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