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May 11, 2009

USDA Inspection of La. Chimpanzee Research Facility Affirms HSUS Investigation

The Humane Society of the United States

Martin Stephens, The Humane Society of the United States' vice president for animal research issues, released the following in response to the results of a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center:

"We appreciate the administration's preliminary response to our complaint and the USDA's inspection of New Iberia Research Center so soon after our investigation. The USDA's previous inspection, in September 2008, had revealed none of the long-standing problems that the agency's latest inspection and our undercover investigation turned up.

"It should not have taken an undercover investigation to prove that chimpanzees and other primates at New Iberia were suffering from chronic psychological distress, self-mutilation, neglect and boredom. We look forward to USDA's evaluation and assessment of our findings, and to working with the agency on ensuring adequate enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

"The USDA must ensure that NIRC stops violating federal law and send the strongest possible message to the other facilities conducting animal research that it will not accept shoddy animal care practices. If NIRC, getting millions of our taxpayer dollars, can't follow the minimum standards prescribed by federal law, then the USDA should level a stiff fine and the NIH should not be funding it.

"The HSUS urges Congress to pass the Great Ape Protection Act to phase out invasive research on the chimpanzees remaining in laboratories, retire the approximately 500 federally-owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary and make statutory the recent decision by the National Center for Research Resources (part of the National Institutes of Health) to stop funding the breeding of federally-owned chimpanzees."

Video from The HSUS' investigation is available.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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