USDA Fines Washington Laboratory $5K for Animal Welfare Violations

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3 min read

Every once in a while, what happens inside an animal experimentation laboratory is so beyond the pale that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) takes the rare step of imposing a fine for animal welfare violations.

This is one of those times.

The USDA just slapped Altasciences, a scalpel-for-hire contract laboratory long on PETA’s radar, with a $5,000 fine for a slew of animal welfare violations. In a two-year period, the Everett, Washington, laboratory displayed a deplorable degree of incompetence and callousness so reckless and severe that it led to injury and even death for some animals.

A thin beagle

In November, PETA demanded a federal investigation into Altasciences after learning that a staffer had repeatedly thrown a monkey into the air like a rag doll, missed a catch, and dropped the animal onto the floor from a height of several feet. We also filed a complaint with local law enforcement.

According to the USDA, the incident was only the most recent on a laundry list of offenses dating back to 2021 and led to the fine. And that’s not all:

A pig in a narrow cage with an orange slatted floor

  • Staffers gave four monkeys an improper dose of a drug, rendering them no longer “useful,” so the animals were killed.
  • Workers snapped the bones in a monkey’s forearm while restraining him during a drug dosing.
  • A 7-month-old beagle was left to waste away. His ribs, back, and pelvic bones were “easily visible,” and weekly weigh-ins showed that he was consistently losing weight.
  • Staffers failed to take the basic husbandry measure of trimming pigs’ hooves. Two Yorkshire pigs had overgrown hooves, and the hooves of others were “inward turning.”

What Does Altasciences Do?

Altasciences conducts cruel tests on animals for clients, force-feeding pharmaceutical drugs and industrial chemicals to its nonconsenting victims. In 2022, it subjected 530 dogs and 3,303 monkeys to experiments. Its annual revenue exceeds $280 million.

This $5,000 fine clearly won’t break Altasciences, but it proves that the company must modernize its labs and adopt non-animal, human-relevant methods.

A thin beagle in a cage

It’s demonstrated that it’s unable or unwilling to comply with the minimal animal welfare provisions mandated by federal law—and animals have sustained painful injuries and endured psychological trauma as a result.

The company should adopt the principles of PETA’s Research Modernization Deal and move away from cruel animal experimentation toward sophisticated, non-animal research methods that will actually help humans.

What You Can Do

If you’re a U.S. resident, please urge your legislators to support the Research Modernization Deal:

For all supporters, please help end the importation of primates for experimentation:

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