Written by PETA
In July 2008, PETA received an anonymous letter reporting that "many monkeys" had died at Charles River Laboratory's (CRL) Sparks, Nevada, facility because of a heating system malfunction. We immediately filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which opened an investigation. After the incident, CRL was fined $10,000 for the death of 32 monkeys—and then went right back to selling and experimenting on millions of animals.
Jumping forward to earlier this year, another horror story broke from behind the walls of a CRL lab in Reno, Nevada. Employees at this facility carelessly ran a monkey through a high-temperature cage washer and boiled him alive. CRL was once again fined, this time for $4,000.
Now news outlets across the country are reporting on the combined $14,000 in fines for the deaths of these 33 monkeys—who were forced to endure the excruciating pain of being cooked alive because of employee ineptitude—and people everywhere are crying out for tighter regulations.
Compared to the usual slap on the wrist that abusive companies receive, these fines are hefty. But for a billion-dollar corporation with a long and sordid history of violating federal animal protection laws—and the iniquitous distinction of being the world's largest tester and supplier of animals for use in experimentation—they're like parking tickets. CRL is responsible for the imprisoning, poisoning, mutilating, and killing of literally tens of millions of animals—from mice to dogs to monkeys—in its own laboratories and those of its customers.
While the deaths of these monkeys have shined some light on the horrors that occur inside CRL, it is the everyday operations of this company and others like it that cause animals the most suffering and death.
Lets's hope that CRL's recent closing of a testing facility in Massachusetts is a sign of things to come for the entire nasty company.
Written by Logan Scherer
Here's a promising development in the midst of the recession: Charles River Laboratories—one of the world's largest suppliers of animals for experimentation—has announced that it is closing up shop in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. We're hoping these cutbacks mean that the cruel, callous industry giant will continue to suffer.
With its long history of abusing animals, Charles River Laboratories should really be called Hell's Kitchen—its facilities have literally cooked live animals to death. News broke last week of a monkey at a Charles River lab in Reno who was "literally boiled alive" last year after he was left in a cage that was put through one of the facility's high-temperature cage washers (think industrial-sized dishwasher)—despite the fact that lab workers claim that the cage was checked three times (?!). This followed an incident in 2008 when 32 monkeys under Charles River's "care" were baked alive after a thermostat malfunction—even though the procedure in place to alert staff apparently had been followed. No one even discovered the deaths until the following morning. PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about that negligent oversight, and Charles River was eventually fined $10,000.
Charles River officials attributed all these horrific and easily preventable deaths to "human error." We agree. But the human error responsible is the conscious decision that experimenters and their suppliers make every day to go to work and torment animals. Judging from its desperate downsizing, we foresee a future in which the folks of Charles River will need to find a different path of employment.
Written by Logan Scherer
Charles River Laboratories has finally had to own up to killing 32 monkeys under their "care." The monkeys were baked alive when a thermostat malfunctioned; no alarm system was in place to alert staff to save the monkeys. Nobody even knew about the deaths until the following morning.
Charles River's announcement follows a string of contact with PETA from a whistleblower claiming to be a Charles River employee, who was concerned about what appeared to be gross negligence. We immediately followed up with a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the body charged with enforcing the minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act), which subsequently opened an inquiry into the lab.
"This is a terrible and unfortunate tragedy," the company said in a statement released to the media. The monkeys were slated to be used in preclinical drug experiments, so Charles River's concern is quite curious. The deaths were written off as the result of "several human errors"—unlike the frequent and intentional monkey murders that preclinical testing laboratories voluntarily participate in.
This accident is only one disgusting incident among many for Charles River's abysmal record. They were cited for 22 violations of the ever-so-minimal standards of the pitifully limited Animal Welfare Act in 2005 alone, and they netted 20 violations (as reported to federal officials) in 2006 and 2007.
Stay tuned to this spot. More's afoot on this front.
Written by Sean Conner
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.