Whistleblower Reports Cruelty to Dogs, Monkeys at Michigan Laboratory

PETA Calls for Investigation of MPI Research, Where Dogs Reportedly Endure Spinal Taps Without Pain Relief

For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2016

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Mattawan, Mich.

PETA filed complaints this morning calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health to investigate a whistleblower’s report that dogs at MPI Research are left shaking in pain after spinal taps and monkeys are so deprived of stimulation that they pull out most of their hair in frustration. MPI—a massive contract laboratory in Mattawan—has conducted experiments for Eli Lilly and Company, Merck Animal Health, Gilead Sciences, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among others.

According to the whistleblower, MPI surgically implants dogs with metal ports that are connected to a catheter inserted into their spinal column, force-feeds them test chemicals, and then subjects them to painful—and possibly incorrectly done—spinal taps that cause severe migraines. The animals are rarely, if ever, given painkillers, the whistleblower reports, and some dogs are in such terrible pain that they experience seizures. After three or four years of spinal-fluid withdrawals, they are allegedly killed, and puppies are brought in to replace them.

Monkeys at MPI reportedly develop unnatural behavior—such as constant pacing and circling—from the lack of stimulation and space inside small cages, and some even mutilate themselves in frustration.

“Dogs and monkeys are complex, social, feeling animals, not pieces of laboratory equipment,” says Dr. Alka Chandna, PETA senior laboratory oversight specialist. “PETA is calling for a full investigation into what exactly is going on at MPI.”

MPI has a history of animal-welfare violations. In 2013, the USDA took the rare step of fining MPI nearly $7,000 for serious violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including rough and careless handling of animals who were so badly injured that they had to be euthanized. MPI was also cited for failing to provide monkeys, including one who had lost more than 75 percent of her hair, with adequate veterinary care.

PETA’s complaints are available here and here. Please click here to read the whistleblower’s account.

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