For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
San Antonio – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s citation of the Southwest National Primate Research Center for a critical violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act that resulted in the amputation of several fingers from a monkey’s hand:
Laboratory staff at the Southwest National Primate Research Center can’t even clean cages without endangering monkeys’ lives. According to a just-released report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a staffer let go of a guillotine-style door to a monkey enclosure while cleaning it, smashing a monkey’s hand so severely that several fingers needed to be amputated. This incident follows the removal of Deepak Kaushal from his position as director of the primate center after a PETA complaint and findings by federal authorities that he repeatedly lied about data from a taxpayer-funded study involving monkeys. The center should be shut down, and the tens of millions in federal tax dollars that support it should be redirected to support the development of superior, non-animal research methods outlined by PETA scientists in the Research Modernization Deal.
The Southwest National Primate Research Center has a history of incompetence and neglect. In 2019, staff failure resulted in the amputation of a female marmoset’s finger. That same year, two monkeys fought and one had to be euthanized after staff failed to secure their enclosures. In 2021, the fingers, toes, or tails of 159 baboons had to be amputated, again because of staff failure. Monkeys have also been strangled by door cables and burned by exposed pipes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Texas Biomedical Research Institute, which runs the primate center, nearly $26,000 for repeatedly allowing primates to escape from cages and injure themselves and others, including humans.
Texas Biomed raked in more than $28 million in federal tax funds from the National Institutes of Health in 2022, despite being unable or unwilling to comply with the most basic animal welfare regulations afforded by federal law.