PETA Statement: Monkey Death at Notorious San Diego Lab Cited for ‘Critical’ Violation of Animal Welfare Act

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

San Diego

Please see the following statement regarding the USDA’s “critical” citation of BTS Research in San Diego:

BTS Research—a contract testing laboratory in San Diego that uses dogs, monkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other animals in cruel and deadly tests—boasts a “highly experienced,” “highly proficient” workforce, but the company can’t adhere to basic rules in carrying out experiments on animals. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report just obtained by PETA, BTS was cited for a “critical” violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which is the most severe type that can be assigned by a USDA inspector. The April 3, 2019, report states that a monkey “was found deceased in his cage one morning” after becoming trapped between the “squeeze bar” and the cage door. The monkey’s necropsy report showed bruising from trying to free himself. He likely suffocated to death.

In laboratories, monkeys are locked in cages fitted with a “squeeze mechanism,” a sliding Plexiglas panel that can be pulled forward, drawing them closer to the front of the cage so that experimenters can inject them with experimental compounds or more easily pull them out of the enclosure. In laboratories where female monkeys are used for breeding, it’s used to pull the mother and her baby to the front of the cage so that staff can pull the baby away from the mother. The mechanism makes it easier for experimenters to poke, prod, and manipulate monkeys, but if it malfunctions or gets triggered accidentally, the animals can become trapped between it and the cage door—causing trauma, bruising, and death.

The latest citation mirrors a pattern of delinquent behavior: The company has been cited for 15 violations over the past four years. The USDA cited BTS for subjecting monkeys to “unnecessary discomfort” by confining them for several hours to a restraint chair in which they were forced to maintain “a standing position with their collar fixed in the yoke of the chair” and for failing to ensure the primates’ psychological well-being, citing “animals showing signs of being in psychological distress,” including “one animal [who] was observed stereotypically circling the enclosure.” BTS has also been cited for its failure to provide guinea pigs and rabbits with housing that met even the minimal size requirements specified by the AWA, failure to provide a dog used in an experimental surgery with adequate veterinary care, failure to keep facilities in good repair, and failures on the part of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to carry out its legally mandated responsibilities.

When animals are already being denied everything that is natural and important to them, robbed of any semblance of a life worth living, and treated like test tubes with tails—locked in cages, poked, prodded, injected with pathogens, poisoned with chemicals, and killed—it’s horrible. But when the laboratories that make piles of money from sentient beings’ torment fail even to comply with the minimal welfare regulations required by law, it’s truly a travesty.

A copy of the USDA citation is available upon request.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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