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