Animals

Animal rights group asks for investigation of Everett lab

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EVERET — A national animal rights group filed a federal complaint Thursday against an animal testing lab in South Everett, alleging inadequate veterinary care and improper handling of animals and other lapses that contributed to the deaths or fractures of the bones of many monkeys and pigs.

The organization “Stop Animal Exploitation Now!” , a national non-profit watchdog that investigates animal abuse and illegal activities in US research facilities, filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture based on the agency’s inspection in July.

Michael Bodke, executive director of the animal rights group, said the petition is asking federal authorities to impose a $70,000 fine and launch an additional investigation into the facility.

Altasciences Co, a Canadian company, operates the animal research facility, which it purchased in 2018 from Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories.

The company provides early-stage research and other services to support the development of new drugs and treatments for humans. Clients include pharmaceutical and medical device development companies. The facility, established in 1999, is located on 29 acres at 6605 Merrill Creek Parkway.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service report, dated November 11, cites the Everett Facility for four serious violations.

The report said that four monkeys had to be euthanized for humane reasons due to an overdose of chemicals.

A fifth monkey’s arm may have been broken by a staff member while trying to restrain the animal during an action.

In a third incident, a hip bone fracture was not diagnosed for 15 days. The fourth violation was related to another fracture of the pig’s bone, the report said.

Eight swine enclosures have been reported to be structurally unsafe, possibly contributing to bone fractures. The USDA report indicated that the defective cages were removed from use.

“Altascience science must not be allowed to escape these completely unnecessary deaths and injuries,” the animal rights group wrote in its letter to the USDA. The agency enforces federal animal welfare law.

An Altasciences spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The lab was advised to correct these and other issues by “ensuring there are sufficient personnel, facilities, equipment and services so that all animals used in the study procedures are diagnosed and appropriately treated,” according to the report.

The animal rights group is asking the USDA to impose a maximum fine of $10,000 on each injured or dead animal named in the violations, for a total of $70,000. It also asks the agency to investigate whether additional animal deaths due to negligence have occurred at the facility.

On the company’s website, Altasciences says, “All of its employees are preclinically trained in laboratory animal care and focus on animal welfare and environmental enrichment—while embracing empathy, sensitivity, and adherence to regulatory guidelines.”

In October 2019, SAEN filed a federal complaint against Altasciences after a routine blood draw at the Everett facility resulted in the death of a 5-month-old piglet. This complaint was based on a confidential company report obtained by the group.

Janis Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: Tweet embed.


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