Check Out the Obscene Federal Animal Welfare Violations at Tulane University

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3 min read

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors have documented serious and chronic violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in the laboratories of Tulane University and its associated Tulane National Primate Research Center.

The AWA provides the bare minimum of animal welfare standards, but Tulane experimenters have repeatedly failed to comply with even those basic protections. Three times, the USDA has taken the rare step of referring the school’s violations to its Investigative and Enforcement Services division, resulting in two fines and an official warning.

Federal authorities have found the violations listed below. Click the links for the full USDA reports.

  • December 4, 2023 (three violations): Inspectors found that approximately 40 outdoor enclosures, each holding approximately five rhesus macaques, provided little or no shelter from the elements—exposing the monkeys to the risk of frostbite, hypothermia, and compromised immune function. Inspectors also found “extensive evidence of widespread rodent activity,” including both live and dead rats, and a buildup of rat feces in the enclosures, which poses a serious disease risk.
  • June 12, 2023 (three violations, one critical): Outdoor enclosures at the primate center put monkeys’ safety at risk. Over a period of three months, one monkey became stuck in the enclosure webbing, another sustained an entanglement injury, a third required medical treatment after a digit became entangled, and a fourth required surgery after injuring a digit in the wire fencing. The report also documents inadequate cleaning, sanitization, and pest control.
  • January 6, 2023 (official warning): The USDA issued Tulane an official warning for failing to ensure that primate enclosures would protect the animals from injury.
  • September 1, 2022 (two violations, one critical): A 3-year-old primate was found dead after her head became trapped between part of the cage and the ceiling of the enclosure.
  • October 20, 2015 (one critical violation): Staffers failed to follow biosafety and infection control procedures, and three primates in the breeding colony were killed as a result of this biosecurity breach.
  • September 15, 2015 (one violation): The written criteria describing when animals who were used in a painful experiment were to be euthanized were unclear, confusing, and based on a guide no one used, in violation of federal guidelines.
  • September 11, 2014 (one violation): The PVC tubes and other items inside primate cages were filthy. Staffers told inspectors that the PVC items were not cleaned for several weeks to months.
  • August 27, 2014 (one violation): In two different experiments, rabbits didn’t receive postoperative painkillers, eyedrops to prevent discomfort, or ointment and antibiotic eyedrops to prevent infection. Although the experiment explicitly called for these measures, there was no proof that they were taken.
  • February 26, 2014 (one violation): Staffers forgot about a young primate caged in a transport van for 22 hours. He was found dehydrated and weak. He didn’t recover.
  • November 1, 2007 (citation and notification of penalty): Thirteen baboons died after staffers severely crowded a chute through which the monkeys were being transferred from one holding area to another. Tulane was fined $12,187.
  • September 16, 2005 (citation and notification of penalty): Four pigtail macaques died or were never found after 50 of them escaped from an enclosure. Tulane was fined $685.

What You Can Do

Please TAKE ACTION and urge the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to close ALL national primate research centers:

And if you’re in the U.S., please take an additional action for animals in Tulane’s laboratories and beyond by supporting PETA’s Research Modernization Deal, which outlines a comprehensive strategy for replacing all experiments on animals with more effective, human-relevant, non-animal methods.

From PETA and executive producer Bill Maher, the new docuseries ‘The Failed Experiment’ exposes what most people don’t know about experiments on animals.

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