Update: May 8, 2019
Atrocities continue to occur at BTS Research, a San Diego–based contract testing laboratory that uses dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, monkeys, and other animals in cruel and deadly tests. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report just obtained by PETA, a monkey “was found deceased in his cage one morning.” The report states that he had become trapped between the “squeeze bar” and the cage door and that the “[n]ecropsy showed bruising” that he had sustained when trying to free himself. He likely suffocated.
In laboratories, monkeys are locked inside cages fitted with a “squeeze mechanism”—a sliding Plexiglas panel that can be pulled forward to draw the animals to the front of the cage so that experimenters can inject them with experimental compounds or more easily pull them out. In laboratories in which female monkeys are used for breeding, it’s used to pull the mothers and babies to the front of the cage so that experimenters can take the babies away. The squeeze mechanism makes it easier for experimenters to poke, prod, and manipulate monkeys, but if it malfunctions or is accidentally triggered, the animals can become trapped between it and the cage door, resulting in bruising and even trauma and death.
Update: October, 13 2017
Once again, the “gold standard” of accreditation of animal welfare in laboratories has proved to be worthless and the organization behind it found to be a sham.
The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International, which supposedly ensures that the laboratories it accredits “meet or exceed” animal-welfare standards, has just awarded its seal of approval to BTS Research, a laboratory-for-hire with a shameful history of violating those standards and causing suffering to the monkeys, dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits imprisoned in its San Diego facility. (See below.)
In 2014, researchers from PETA, Marymount University, and Western Governors University investigated whether AAALAC International–accredited laboratories were, indeed, better than non-accredited facilities when it comes to complying with the federal Animal Welfare Act, the only federal U.S. law governing the treatment of some animals used in experiments.
Using government data, the researchers looked at the records of hundreds of laboratories and found that facilities accredited by this organization actually had significantly more violations than non-accredited laboratories did.
Perhaps this accreditation should be redubbed the “charade” standard. The countless animals involuntarily subjected to experiments deserve better than incompetent regulatory bodies that turn a blind eye to their abuse. We owe it to them to take action if policymakers won’t.
You can help animals suffering at one of those AAALAC International–accredited institutions.
Please speak up for dogs who’ve been bred to develop a crippling form of canine muscular dystrophy and then subjected to painful experiments at Texas A&M University.
Originally published December 15, 2016.
Following a PETA complaint based on a whistleblower’s allegations of cruelty to animals at BTS Research (BTS), the San Diego–based laboratory-for-hire that performs often deadly tests on monkeys, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for serious violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The USDA cited BTS for subjecting monkeys to “unnecessary discomfort” by confining them improperly for hours in a restraint chair in which they were forced to maintain “a standing position with their collar fixed in the yoke of the chair.” The agency also cited the laboratory for failing to ensure primates’ psychological well-being, stating that “animals [showed] signs of being in psychological distress,” including “one animal [who] was observed stereotypically circling the enclosure.”
The latest citations mirror a pattern of delinquent behavior: The company has been cited for 13 animal-welfare violations in just the past two years—including failure to provide a dog used in an experimental surgery with adequate veterinary care, failure to provide guinea pigs and rabbits with housing that met even the minimal size requirements specified by the AWA, failure to keep facilities in good repair, and failure on the part of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to carry out its legally mandated responsibilities.
Animals at BTS are already denied everything that’s natural and important to them and robbed of any semblance of a life. They are locked in cages, poked, prodded, injected with diseases, poisoned with chemicals, and killed. We urge companies that contract with BTS to look very carefully at what is happening in this laboratory and consider their options.