An animal-rights group has filed a complaint against an Everett research lab over the deaths of 25 monkeys shipped to Washington from Cambodia.
The Ohio-based group Stop Animal Exploitation Now said in its complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that SNBL USA should be “severely punished” for allowing the animals to perish or become so weak they had to be euthanized.
SNBL records say that when the shipment of 840 macaques arrived in Houston on Oct. 1, 2013, company staff noted that the animals were “very thirsty and thin.” More than 350 animals were shipped to the company’s facility in Alice, Texas, while the rest were loaded into trucks for the nearly three-day trip to Everett.
Of those animals, five died in transit and an additional 20 died or were euthanized shortly after arrival.
SNBL USA Chief Compliance Officer Thomas Beck reported the deaths in an Oct. 21, 2013, letter to the National Institutes of Health, which funds most biomedical research. “We were devastated when this happened,” he said Monday. “We take animal care very seriously.”
Beck said the company has changed it procedures to shorten transport time for animals shipped from abroad.
According to its most recent annual report to the USDA, which regulates laboratory animal welfare, SNBL USA has nearly 2,000 monkeys. The company conducts biomedical research and also sells animals to other labs.
SNBL USA is part of a Japanese company, Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories.
In 2007, a monkey was scalded to death in a cage-cleaning accident at the Everett facility. The company’s most recent USDA inspection, in May, noted dirty cages piled in a hallway with debris spilling onto the floor.