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Great Media Coverage For World Laboratory Animal Week

May 16, 2011

We've been very busy with World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week (which concluded in late April), as well as several other projects, including running paid anti-animal experimentation TV commercials in Davis, Berkeley & Los Angeles (CA), as well as Boston (MA). And we are currently working on our next event, May 29th is the second National Day of Mourning for Animals in Labs.

However, we've gotten a tremendous amount of media coverage lately, and I wanted all of you to see it.

Thanks for all of your support of our work.


USDA warns Birmingham's Southern Research Institute after research animals' deaths

By Jeff Hansen, The Birmingham News, April 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an official warning letter to Southern Research Institute for two animal care lapses in 2009.

In one, attributed to employee error, two ferrets died from overheating after mistakenly being left outside and two other overheated ferrets recovered after treatment. In the other, attributed to missing or unused safety clips, a macaque suffocated when it stuck its head out of an improperly secured cage.

Southern Research was cited for failure to handle animals in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort.

An official warning letter from the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service puts the recipient on notice that any further violations may result in a civil penalty or criminal prosecution.

The USDA inspection report of these two incidents in January said that Southern Research's correction and preventive measures appeared to be sufficient to prevent any recurrence.

The inspection came after an Ohio watchdog group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, filed complaints to the USDA. SAEN uses Freedom of Information requests to monitor animal research at labs across the United States.

Michael Budkie -- the executive director of SAEN who had asked the USDA in March to fine Southern Research $10,000 per animal death -- said he was disappointed to see only a warning.

"Considering two separate incidents that killed animals, they should have at least been fined," he said. "Without meaningful fines, labs don't have the incentive not to be repeat offenders."

This week SAEN also released leaked Southern Research documents of another animal welfare lapse that occurred in 2007.

According to an internal Southern Research memorandum in August 2007, two trays of eggs that were not inoculated with influenza virus had been incubated too long. A technician found that live chicks were actively peeping and pecking their way out of the shells.

The supervisor -- who later expressed sincere regrets and took full responsibility, according to the memo -- told another technician to dispose of the chicks by bagging them and running them through an autoclave, a device that operates like a pressure cooker to sterilize equipment or kill dangerous microbes with steam and high heat.

The memorandum investigating the incident found that the Southern Research veterinary staff was not contacted by the supervisor. The memo concluded: "Our investigation indicates that live, viable hatchlings were inexplicably autoclaved to death. ... The disposal of the hatchlings is in violation of corporate policy and acceptable standards of humane animal use."

Southern Research Public Relations Manager Rhonda Jung said Wednesday that, after the 2007 incident, "remedial actions and disciplinary actions were taken immediately, as soon as it was brought to our attention. I can confirm that our quick response .�.�. resolved the incident."

Budkie called the autoclaving "inexcusable."

"There was no reason whatsoever to kill those animals that way," he said.

The nonprofit Southern Research conducts basic and applied research in Alabama (particularly at its Southside campus and headquarters) Maryland and North Carolina in drug discovery, preclinical drug development, advanced engineering and environmental protection.

Jung said Southern Research does vitally important drug research, including helping develop seven anti-cancer drugs now used by cancer patients.

"Because our work is also highly regulated, we follow stringent guidelines and regulatory agencies routinely inspect our facilities and practices," she said in a written statement. "We continue to place a high premium on animal care and safety, and continuously train and update training for our employees. This work is challenging, yet required as part of the search for new cures and therapies. We sincerely regret any such incident and respond as quickly and responsibly as possible."

Animal rights group produces ad charging UC with mistreatment of lab monkeys

By Peter Hecht, McClatchy Newspapers, April 27, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-An animal rights group has produced a television commercial charging University of California, Davis and three other University of California campuses of mistreating monkeys during laboratory research.

The 30-second ad, which Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now says will run in California on CNN, Fox and Animal Planet, depicts photos of harnessed monkeys and claims "torture ... is happening now at the University of California."

UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell characterized the ad as an attempt to discredit animal research that offers benefits in fighting disease and providing knowledge on conditions including malaria, HIV, allergies, Alzheimer's and autism.

"It is not intended to be a fair ad," he said. "SAEN is a group whose objective is to shut down all animal research."

The spot, showing graphic photos of monkeys being restrained, doesn't say where the pictures were taken or how they were obtained. The ad is in line with animal rights activists' assertions that monkeys should be spared pain and suffering in research of questionable value.

"This is torture," says a voice and written text in the ad as images flash of restrained monkeys. "Strapped into restraint chairs. Bolts in their heads. Deprived of water. Is this a prison camp? It's worse. Your tax dollars pay for this. It's not science. It's animal abuse happening now at the University of California."

The ad, which goes on to solicit donations for the group, protests primate research at UC Davis, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley. The animal rights group has purchased ad slots between Monday and Sunday in California markets.

UC Davis has 6,000 monkeys. Fell said the university follows strict federal regulations for humane treatment of research animals.

"Animal research is very strictly regulated under federal law," Fell said. He said humane treatment of research animals "is a responsibility we take very seriously."

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited UC Davis for using a monkey in research studies despite evidence it was in ill health with vomiting, hair loss and behavioral problems. The report said the university failed to adequately document veterinary care for the monkey, which was euthanized in 2008.

Activists protest against animal research during World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week

By Loic Hostetter, The Daily Bruin, April 26, 2011

Demonstrators gathered Monday on Westwood Boulevard to demonstrate against the use of animals in scientific research.

Protestors in surgical masks and hazmat suits spattered with fake blood gathered at the corner of Le Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard on Monday afternoon to denounce animal research.

"Hey UCLA, what do you say?" called one protestor.

"How many animals have you killed today?" the group responded.

A group of 50 to 60 activists from various animal rights organizations spoke against what they say is inhumane treatment of animals in UCLA laboratories.

Holding signs and chanting, the group moved between laboratories on campus, trailed by several university police officers on bicycles and in a police car. At one point, the group gathered on the lawns in front of Kerckhoff Hall to give a speech.

The protest was organized in coordination with groups near UC Davis and UC Berkeley that are rallying for World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week, which plays host to annual protests by animal rights groups across the country.

This came as the latest installment in a long-standing ethical debate between UCLA researchers and anti-animal research groups.

UCLA alumna Susan Johnson has been protesting against animal research since 1985 and said she has seen an increasing trend of reclusive behavior on the part of the administration.

The last instance of dialogue between both sides was "UCLA: The Science and Ethics of Animal Research," a panel discussion held in February of 2010, said Jill Ryther, an animal rights attorney and 2009 graduate of UCLA School of Law.

Ryther said she thinks the panel was very successful, but nothing of the sort has happened since.

UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said UCLA�s administration and researchers are very willing to talk with animal rights activists with opposing views, except when those people do not speak out against the violent and criminal actions some animal rights groups have aimed at UCLA researchers.

Hampton said the university ensures proper care of animals in laboratories is taken, and research is monitored according to federal and UC standards.

There is rigorous oversight by the government and the UCLA administration on the laboratories that test on animals to prevent abuse, Hampton said.

For animal research to be performed by UCLA faculty, they must first prove that their experiment necessitates the use of animal subjects, he said. Animals are used if it is the only way to proceed with their research.

What would be inhumane, he added, would be eliminating hope for people with medical conditions who would benefit from research that uses animal subjects. 

Animal rights activists to protest UC lab practices

From KGO TV, Berkeley, April 25, 2011

In Berkeley Monday, animal rights activists will demonstrate against lab practices at the University of California.

At noon, protesters dressed in white lab coats will enter cages at Oxford Street and University Avenue to protest the university's animal testing practices.

The event is part of World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week. Similar demonstrations are planned at UC campuses in Davis and Los Angeles.

Animal Rights Activists To Protest At UC Schools Monday

By Kristen Peters, Bay City News, April 24, 2011

Dozens of animal rights advocates will gather to protest laboratory practices at the University of California at Berkeley on Monday.

The demonstration is part of World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week beginning on April 24, according to the Ohio-based national animal research watchdog organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

This year's actions mark the 27th annual week of protests, the group said.

Protests will be staged in more than 30 cities nationwide over the course of the week, with California animal rights advocates targeting the University of California campuses in Berkeley, Davis and Los Angeles, Stop Animal Exploitation Now said.

At noon Monday, individuals will dress in white lab coats and enclose themselves in cages at Oxford Street and University Avenue in Berkeley to bring attention to the university's animal testing practices.

Antibody provider investigated over treatment of goats

From, April 20, 2011

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., a major supplier of antibodies and other materials used by molecular biology labs worldwide, is under investigation by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act, authorities confirm.

A February inspection at a company production facility yielded several instances of �noncompliance� with the Act, all relating to the treatment of goats whose immune systems are harnessed to produce laboratory reagents. The noncompliances, detailed in an inspection report, involve "veterinary care, personnel qualifications, and primary enclosures," said David Sacks, a spokesman for the USDA in Washington, DC.

A senior spokesperson for Santa Cruz Biotechnology did not respond to telephone requests for comment.

The matter began drawing public attention on Monday after Michael Budkie, executive director of the advocacy group Stop Animal Exploitation Now! held a news conference in Santa Cruz, California, where the company is based. Budkie pressed the USDA to take strong action against the company. He also showed photos from earlier inspections depicting animals that had not received proper care. In once case, last summer, a goat was found with a massive tumour on its neck (pictured). The company was cited as far back as 2005 for failing to meet standards for animal care.

"We look at all the inspection reports as they become available online," Budkie says. "And Santa Cruz Biotechnology has a history of serious animal welfare violations."
Sacks says that companies who run afoul of the animal law face severe fines � a maximum of $10,000 per violation.

USDA inspections are unannounced and conducted by veterinarians working with the agency. Generally, companies with clean records are inspected once each year, Sacks says. Repeated noncompliance triggers investigations. "We send agency investigators to a facility if it is having serious problems," he adds. "For the most part, the vast majority of the facilities we register are in compliance."

During the company�s most recent inspection, on 8 February, two donkeys, 876 goats, and 6,000 rabbits were listed in its inventory. The inspection report cites several noncompliance items relating to the care of goats in the facility, including a failure to follow acceptable protocols for blood collection, a dirty bandage, incomplete health records, and the case of goat #14983, found "wedged in a metal feeder, unable to move its head out of the rungs of the feeder," writes veterinarian Marcy Rosendale.

In 2005, Santa Cruz Biotechnology paid $4,600 in fines resulting from violations in areas of animal sanitation, veterinary care, and personnel training. The settlement report contains 23 citations spanning a 2 year period and includes problems such as flies around the enclosures, and unacceptable forms of euthanasia, as well as using more than 1,000 rabbits when a protocol authorized the use of 80.

Inspections in 2009 turned up no instances of noncompliance, but a USDA inspection on 5 May 2010 found instances of lame animals, incomplete health records, and the case of goat #7575, who had a "large, approximately baseball sized tumour" protruding from its neck, writes Rosendale. The tumour was draining into a shared feeder, "exposing the hay and other animals to the effusion." Though the animal had been recommended for euthanasia, permission to perform the procedure had been delayed because "valuable antibodies" might still be harvested.

And on 13 July 2010, Rosendale reported more concerns, such as the case of goat #12579, who had a "large open wound to the right hind leg. According to the medical report, the goat had been bitten by a coyote," writes Rosendale. "The animal never received any treatment for pain, even prior to wound treatment," the report continued.

Budkie says the fines imposed by the USDA are "so small they�re virtually meaningless," and that some companies lump the fines into the cost of doing business.

But Sacks says the USDA is doing a good job at enforcing the existing regulations, and that its goal is to help every facility be in complete compliance, every day. "As federal regulators, we don�t have an ideological agenda in terms of animal research," he says. "All we focus on is the welfare of those animals."

The Animal Welfare Act, passed in 1966, includes regulations for the treatment of warm-blooded animals involved in research � but excludes rats from the genus Rattus, and mice from the genus Mus.

UC Davis accused of falsifying info about lab animals

From KGO-TV, April 19, 2011

An animal rights group is accusing UC Davis of cooking the books. Stop Animal Exploitation (SAEN) accuses the university of falsifying records and even deleting information about the treatment of its research animals.

SAEN says a Department of Agriculture investigation found 15 incidents of traumatic injuries to a single primate, but public records do not indicate that.

UC Davis says all of its animals are treated well and are in excellent health and it is appealing the Department of Agriculture's assessment.

Group says Primate Center, USDA covered up negligence

By Cory Golden (Davis Enterprise) April 19, 2001

Group says Primate Center, USDA covered up negligence

An animal-rights group on Tuesday accused the California National Primate Research Center and U.S. Department of Agriculture of covering up negligence in the death of research monkeys.

Michael Budkie, executive director of the Ohio-based group Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, said UC Davis and USDA did not respond to an anonymous whistleblower complaint about deaths in the center�s outdoor enclosures.

As a result, he said, at least 36 more animals died under similar circumstances.

"Obviously, there are issues within UC Davis with regard to how they�re taking care of the animals," Budkie said at a news conference in Davis, "but in this situation the more serious question is: How is it that the USDA could go in and do an investigation, see that the animals were just being found dead with no previous record of treatment, care, diagnosis or anything serious like that, and say that nothing was wrong?"

UCD quickly denied the accusations. The USDA said it would look into them.

Budkie provided reporters with what he said was the whistleblower�s July 2008 complaint to the USDA and the university.

The letter lists the identification numbers of 86 monkeys found dead in their cages and another 19 alleged to have been hospitalized in an emaciated or dehydrated state "that might still be alive if they were treated sooner." Many of the animals were infants.

The author blames the problem on staff being inadequately trained to recognize signs of weight loss and technicians either relying too heavily on observers or ignoring their feedback. Some cages and enclosures were not being checked daily, the letter says.

UCD spokesman Andy Fell said he was unaware of such a whistleblower complaint being filed with the university: "To my knowledge, I don�t think there�s a complaint corresponding to what (Budkie) is talking about."

About 3,000 of the more than 5,000 primates housed at the 300-acre center, about two miles west of the main UCD campus, live in 24 half-acre outdoor corrals.

"In some instances when a monkey is born there, the mother is unable or unwilling to look after it or another individual attacks it," Fell said. "It happens in the wild, it happens here in these large family groups. � We would reject the idea that any of these monkeys died because of something that could have been prevented or because they weren�t treated."

Fell said each enclosure is checked daily, and that the USDA has inspected the facility 19 times so far in 2011.

Budkie, though, pointed to a January 2010 necropsy report for a 10-month-old monkey as what he believes is proof that animals are not being watched closely. In it, the dead monkey�s body is described as being found "in poor condition" and "entirely covered in mud and gravel."

Responded Fell, "If it was covered in mud and gravel, it was likely done by another monkey. Unfortunately, they�re pretty rough sometimes."

In a separate instance, in June 2010, a USDA inspector cited the research center for using a monkey in a fourth study "despite the progressive worsening of medical and behavioral problems that led to unnecessary discomfort, distress and pain to that animal." The monkey later was euthanized.

The inspector noted that the animal was sedated 15 times and suffered 10 instances of vomiting between the third and fourth studies in which it was used.

UCD appealed the citation to the Sacramento USDA office. After that was turned down, UCD appealed to the regional office. It is still pending.

According to the university�s appeal, the 6-year-old monkey was cleared for use in the study by behavior management, research and veterinary staff, all of whom agreed the monkey could safely be used in a vaccine study involving "minimal stress."

UCD said 12 of the sedations took place after a 2006 foot injury and were done to protect both the animal and staff during bandage changes. The vomiting episodes took place over more than two years � not frequent enough to be clinically significant, according to the letter to USDA from UCD�s attending veterinarian, Victor Lukas.

Fell said it amounted to a "difference of opinion" between the inspector reviewing the necropsy and the center�s staff, which felt the animal was "healthy and stable enough to go into" another study.

Budkie said his concern went further. The documents he received from a public records request mentioned neither the sedations nor the animal�s vomiting.

"Somewhere between the laboratory where this animal was being used and the records that were provided to us, this information apparently disappeared," said Budkie, who raised the possibility of a cover-up to protect federal grant money if the center was found to have broken the law.

The necropsy report Budkie requested included "very basic" information, Fell said, while the full medical report includes more.

"There�s no inconsistency there � there�s no cover-up," Fell said, adding, "He gets the documents he requests."

USDA spokesman Dave Sacks said an inspector would be dispatched to the center to look into the whistleblower complaint. As for the issue with the individual monkey that UCD is appealing, Sacks said it would it would be inappropriate for him to comment on an ongoing appeal.

Budkie labeled the research center "a business" and questioned the need for animal research generally. He again returned to the image of the dead monkey in the mud:

"Is this the picture of a facility capable of producing something that roughly resembles science? They don�t even know when the animals are dying. Do you want to believe the result of experiments that come out of this facility? I know I don�t."

Fell said the Primate Center has done important research into HIV/AIDS, autism and childhood asthma.

For instance, work was done there in the 1990s on both the anti-retroviral drug tenofovir and the use of a vaginal gel effective on animals with simian immunodeficiency virus, the primate version of HIV.

That laid the groundwork for a 2010 trial of a tenofovir gel used by 900 HIV-negative South African women that reduced infections by 54 percent, compared to a control group, among women who strictly adhered to its instructions.

UCD�s Primate Center employs about 400 people. It operates on a federally funded budget of about $10 million annually and another $24 million per year in outside funding generated by its researchers. A new 20,000-square-foot respiratory diseases center is due to open there in 2013.

USDA investigating Santa Cruz Biotechnology: Animal research facility out of compliance in 2010 and 2011

By Jondi Gumz (Santa Cruz Sentinel) April 18, 2011

SANTA CRUZ - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating veterinary care at Santa Cruz Biotechnology after inspections at the research facility twice last year found a dozen sick or injured goats in pain, including one awaiting euthanization.

USDA spokesman Dave Sacks confirmed the investigation Monday in the wake of allegations by Ohio animal research watchdog Michael Budkie that "places like Santa Cruz Biotechnology get a free pass" and "the USDA system is not effective" at enforcing federal animal welfare law.

"We want these facilities to adhere to all the federal regulations," Sacks said, noting inspection reports by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are posted online, along with enforcement actions. "They can't hide, so to speak. Their actions are seen by the public, as are ours."

He said he could not comment on Santa Cruz Biotechnology specifically because the investigation is ongoing.

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, the city's seventh largest employer with 216 workers, reported caring for more than 19,000 animals in 2010. The company - which has other offices in Paso Robles; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Heidelberg, Germany - and sells antibodies to researchers. It was fined $4,600 in 2005 after two years of noncompliance involving sanitation and research procedures, according to the USDA.

Santa Cruz Biotechnology co-owner Brenda Stephenson did not return a call requesting comment.

Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, based in Milford, Ohio, hosted a press conference Monday at the Holiday Inn Express in Santa Cruz. He presented 2010 USDA inspection reports finding Santa Cruz Biotechnology out of compliance, and showed photos of seven sickly goats, which he said he obtained from the agency under the Freedom of Information Act.

Congress raised the fines for violations of the Animal Welfare Act from $2,500 to $10,000 per violation per animal per day in 2008. Budkie said fines of $5,000 to $10,000 are ineffective for a facility with revenue in the millions.

Budkie wrote the USDA on Friday, saying Santa Cruz Biotechnology should be fined $240,000 because of mistreatment of "at least 24 separate infractions."

The 2010 reports detail maltreatment of 12 sick or injured goats, a year after inspectors reported the facility in compliance. In several cases, the citations by veterinary inspector Marcy Rosendale describe inappropriate veterinary care, improper handling and lack of staff training involving the same animal.

The goat awaiting euthanasia had a tumor that could leak into the hay feeder shared with eight others. The facility's attending veterinarian had sought permission to put the animal down, but the request had not been granted for three weeks because the goat "may have valuable antibodies to harvest," according to the inspection report.

Budkie said he had not seen the 2011 inspection report. But he contended a May 2010 audit by the USDA's Office of the Inspector General found the agency's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which conducts inspections, ineffective.

The audit focused on enforcement against dog dealers who ignored minimum care standards. One of the recommendations was photo documentation for violations, similar to those Budkie presented.

"We always welcome audits by OIG," Sacks said. "We look at the conclusions as ways to improve an already good process."

"I'm not going to say every research facility is squeaky clean," he said, noting problems may be "a bad stretch" or "chronic."

He said the agency's process starts with unannounced inspections. If noncompliance is found and documented, there is a follow-up inspection. Further noncompliance can trigger an investigation, which can lead to fines.

"Under the law, the strictest penalty we can enforce is monetary fines," Sacks said, noting the law does not allow the USDA to suspend or revoke a license for an animal research facility.

As for the sickly goat awaiting euthanasia in Santa Cruz, he said, "When we found out about it, it was cited on that report. That's not something that gets overlooked."

Research involving animals has been controversial in Santa Cruz. In August 2008, two UC Santa Cruz researchers were targeted with firebombs, one set off outside a home, one set off in a vehicle. The FBI is investigating the case. Animal rights demonstrators visited the home of another researcher months earlier.


The following is a summary of findings from U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections at Santa Cruz Biotechnology:

May 2010: 62 sick animals. Four citations for noncompliance, five goats maltreated. Problems include research procedures, inadequate veterinary care. Medical records for sick animals incomplete. Facility told to correct immediately.

July 2010: 178 sick animals. Five citations for noncompliance and two repeated citations, seven goats maltreated. Problems include inadequate veterinary care. Medical records for sick animals incomplete. Facility told to correct immediately.

February 2011: 76 sick animals. One citation for noncompliance involving blood collection rules, three repeated citations, one goat unable to walk. Medical records for sick animals incomplete. Facility told to correct immediately. - video available

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. Charged with Animal Cruelty

By Brad Kava (Santa Cruz Patch) April 18, 2011

An Ohio-based animal rights group charges that the antibody manufacturing company has repeatedly mistreated goats, rabbits and other animals. By Brad Kava | Email the author | April 18, 2011

One disease-ridden goat was left in the sun in a pen, unable to walk and unable to reach food or water. Another had a giant tumor the size of a baseball, untreated. A third was suffering so badly that a vet asked for it to be put to death, but the company didn't get around to doing it for a month.

Those are the claims made Monday in Santa Cruz by Michael Budkie, the executive director of the nonprofit Ohio-based group Stop Animal Exploitation Now. against Santa Cruz Biotech, at 2145 Delaware Ave. They weren't just claims he was making �they were found in reports by inspectors from the USDA, which is supposed to monitor the treatment of animals, even those used in research.

"If a private individual allowed an animal to suffer like this, they would be in jail," said Budkie. "That's one of the problems with this system. Places like Santa Cruz Biotech essentially get a free pass. They're allowed to cause animals to suffer for an extended period of time."

The company didn't return repeated phone calls for comment.

A representative with the USDA, Lyndsay Cole, said the agency reinspected the center April 5 and would have results available Tuesday.

Budkie documented tragic cases of suffering animals, which are public record and available at the USDA's site here. At one point, he said, there were 178 animals with serious illnesses, which, he added, might be expected if the company was testing for diseases. However, he claimed, it is in the business of breeding antibodies in animals and shipping them to other labs for testing, so is more of an animal dealer, which falls under more strict regulation.

Regardless, he said, the fines charged by the USDA are so minimal that companies write them off as business expenses.

"It's like if you were speeding and got a $3 ticket. Would you care?"

In a letter to Robert Gibbens, the western regional director for the USDA, Budkie asked for the company to be fined $240,000, or $10,000 per infraction per animal.

One of the violations was a failure to train staff to deal with animals. That was what the company said was the reason the goat was left in the sun to suffer. This was listed as a repeat offense by the USDA inspectors. The company also failed to monitor animals and keep track of their health in written reports.

The company, which according to its website is the leading supplier of antibodies, antibody support products, gene silencers, biochemicals, buffers, lab reagents and labware. It keeps 8,700 rabbits and 8,800 goats, according to Budkie.

It is owned by John and Brenda Stephenson, who also have a 200-acre ranch, on which they keep the animals, which caused community debate over whether the land was being used for agriculture or research, and whether the growing of antibodies was the same as growing crops.

The company has 190 employees and bases in Paso Robles, Sun Valley, ID and Heidelberg, Germany. - video available

USDA Investigating Animal Abuse Claims

By Katelyn Sykes (KION TV) April 19, 2011


Central Coast News was provided a copy of the USDA's inspection report done at Santa Cruz Biotechnologies Inc. The group Stop Animal Exploitation Now says some of the animals were in "appalling" conditions and they want the organization to pay.

The group released pictures of those animals on Monday. They claim it's proof of animal abuse and say there's a history of abuse at the organization.

"One animal had developed an external tumor the size of a baseball and the facility's own veterinarian asked to euthanize this animal but was denied the ability to do so for over a month," says Michael Budkie, Executive Director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN.

If investigators decide to consider it abuse, biotechnologies would face a $240,000 fine for the violations.

"This is the kind of thing that private individuals allow animals to suffer in this way in their care, they would face criminal charges but places like this, Santa Cruz Biotech, get a free pass," says Budkie.

Santa Cruz Biotechnologies wasn't available for comment on Monday. - video available

Biotech company accused of animal abuse

Karina Rusk (KGO TV) April 18, 2011

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A national animal rights organization is targeting a Santa Cruz company for what it calls serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The director of that watchdog group claims a federal inspection shows sick and malnourished animals suffering because of the company's neglect.

USDA inspectors took pictures of sick and malnourished goats at a facility run by Santa Cruz Biotechnology. Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, got them through a Freedom of Information request. He showed the photos during a news conference in Santa Cruz to expose what he calls serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

"If a private individual allowed animals to suffer this way in their own care, you would be in jail," said Budkie.

The USDA documented its concerns in reports after two inspections last year -- one in May and one in July. The July report noted 178 goats were in isolation for various medical reasons. The May report included details of a goat with a baseball-sized tumor. The animal had not been put down despite that request from the attending veterinarian.

Santa Cruz Biotechnology raises animals to produce antibodies sold to researchers. The company did not respond to our repeated efforts Monday for a comment on the issue, but there are concerns in the community.

"I think generally people want the right animals to be treated properly and the fact that it's happening is appalling," said Benita Beshoar of Scotts Valley.

The USDA does not consider the 2010 conditions violations, but rather items of non-compliance which need to be corrected.

"The fact is, until the USDA does something substantial, such as issuing a major fine against this facility, they really have no motivation to stop breaking the law," said Budkie.

Budkie is demanding the agency levy the maximum fine in the amount of $240,000. - video available

Animal Abuse Claims Against Santa Cruz Lab

By Katelyn Sykes (KION TV) April 17, 2011

SANTA CRUZ, Calif - Monday morning an Ohio-based animal watchdog group will meet with media to show pictures and government documents that, it says, prove Santa Cruz Biotechnology is guilty of "massive federal violations."

Michael Budkie is the executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. He says the company is mistreating animals in the name of science. He says that mistreatment includes starvation, insomnia and lack of veterinary care.

Allegedly, after a federal inspection, Santa Cruz Biotechnology is responsible for 170 sick animals.

Central Coast News is still waiting for the company's response. Budkie says his group has not reached out to them.

David Smith is a local to the area. He is an animal lover, but understands this complicated coin has two sides.

"If you are going to test on animals, it really has to be something that really needs it, and it has to have a very definite result that could lead to something like a cure to cancer," Smith said.

Budkie flew all the way from Ohio to the Central Coast for Monday's news conference. He says, "At the news conference tomorrow, you will see very unhealthy animals. The kinds of things that if they were found in your home, you would be charged with animal cruelty."
Written by Katie Leveroni News Writer Published on Apr 7, 2011

Federal government cites UC Davis for animal cruelty
University appeals inspector's report

A report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found UC Davis guilty of violating the Animal Welfare Act for conducting experiments on a monkey at the California National Primate Research Center.

The monkey in contention was used in four separate experiments despite multiple occurrences of vomiting and self-inflicted traumatic incidents. In addition to gastrointestinal problems, the monkey was suffering from hair loss on its arms and legs and a wound on its genitals.

"UC Davis respectfully disagrees with the inspector's conclusions. The overall thrust of the inspector's criticism is that this animal should not have been placed on another study because of overall health condition and history of self-injury," said Andy Fell, UC Davis spokesperson.

The research watchdog group Stop Animal Cruelty Now (SAEN) has called the acts heinous and hopes UC Davis will face a $20,000 fine from the USDA.

"This raises a lot of very serious questions." said Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN. "Why would they subject an animal in this condition to yet another study? Wouldn't the health issues this animal was facing compromise the studies it was being used in? Any information that came from the use of this animal would be misleading."

According to the reports from the USDA, veterinarians at the research center questioned whether or not the monkey should have been used in the fourth study based its health problems. The animal was sedated 15 times between the third and fourth study for treatment of traumatic injuries, some of which were caused by self-injurious behavior.

"Animals at the California National Primate Research Center receive the best of care including daily health checks and care by veterinarians with expertise in caring for non-human primates," Fell said. "The animal was fully assessed by veterinarians and found to be stable and healthy at the time it was assigned to the fourth study. However, during the fourth study it began to injure itself. Initially, the self-injurious behavior was treated successfully, but taking into account the longer-term trends and our established criteria, the animal was euthanized in September 2008."

UC Davis has appealed to the western regional office of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and USDA is currently reviewing the appeal.

"When you use an animal in such a way that it violates the Animal Welfare Act, you also create issues with the National Institute of Health, which could then result in the loss of grant money," Budkie said. "This is probably why UC Davis has been so strident in their attempts to appeal the citation."

UC Davis, cited for treatment of research monkey, loses appeal

By Laurel Rosenhall
Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011

The federal government has cited UC Davis for using a monkey in research studies despite evidence that it was in poor health.

The monkey had gastrointestinal problems, vomited frequently, was losing hair on its arms and legs and had a wound on its genitals.

After the monkey had been used in three studies, UC Davis veterinarians questioned whether it was well enough to be used for more research, the report states. The lab decided to place the monkey in a fourth study, the report says, "despite the progressive worsening of medical and behavior problems that lead to unnecessary discomfort, distress and pain to that animal."

The report also cites UC Davis for inadequately documenting the monkey's veterinary care. The monkey was euthanized in September 2008.

The report was made public last week after the federal government denied an appeal by UC Davis, which argued that the monkey was in good enough shape to be used in the studies.

"Our institution does not consider this combined research usage excessive for an animal that was (about) six years old," says the letter of appeal written by UC Davis veterinarian Victor Lukas.

The government's report is based on a November 2009 inspection of records at the California National Primate Research Center, a UC Davis lab that houses 6,000 monkeys used in research on malaria, HIV, asthma, allergies, Alzheimer's and autism.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected records related to the monkey's care upon request by an animal rights organization that reviewed the monkey's death report.

"It was very clear that this animal had gone through what was a horrible life," said Michael Budkie, an Ohio activist who opposes the use of animals in scientific research.

UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said the university is appealing the government's findings a second time.

"All animals at the primate center receive regular health checks and they receive excellent care," Fell said. "Animal research is well regulated by federal law. We think we do it humanely, and it produces useful insight into human and animal medicine."

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