(Beth Clifton collage)
Repeated Animal Welfare Act violations found in follow-up inspection
EVERETT, Washington––Citing repeated and continuing alleged violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act by the Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories’ facility in Everett, Washington, Stop Animal Exploitation on June 19, 2017 asked USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service western regional director Robert Gibbens to terminate the SNBL licenses to sell animals and to do animal research.
The SNBL facility in Everett, Washington.
(From Google Earth)
The SAEN request comes just six months after SAEN won a near-record $185,000 USDA-APHIS fine against SNBL, a U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese-owned contract research conglomerate.
“Following the incidents for which SNBL was penalized $185,000 “ SAEN cofounder Michael Budkie wrote to Gibbens, “SNBL has thumbed their noses at the USDA, and committed new non-compliances by abusing over 45 monkeys and guinea pigs. If any animal lab/dealer deserves to be closed it is SNBL.”
“I am certain that the purpose of the $185,000 penalty, the third largest ever levied against a lab, was to force this recalcitrant facility to comply with the law,” Budkie continued. “It is amazing to me that a penalty of this magnitude has been ineffective.”
Michael Budkie (AR 2016 photo)
“We take these allegations seriously”
The highly secretive SNBL company has said little to media in response to repeated fines for Animal Welfare Act violations, but in October 2016, with the $185,000 fine pending, SNBL executive vice president Steven Glaza said in a written statement that “We take these allegations seriously and are fully cooperating with the USDA to ensure that we are in complete compliance. This is everyone’s priority.”
Glaza added that SNBL is “committed to the humane, ethical and appropriate care of all animals.”
(Beth Clifton collage)
“As you know,” Budkie reminded Gibbens, “SNBL was inspected [again] on May 1, 2017.”
Guinea pigs left with open wounds
Inspector Diane Forbes, DVM, cited SNBL for “the unrelieved pain of 40 guinea pigs who were used in ‘full-thickness skin irradiation’ studies,” Budkie recounted. “According to the report, ‘Forty animals had open wounds (partial to full thickness loss of skin at the irradiated site) and varying degrees of redness and swelling immediately surrounding the irradiated site, indicating substantial inflammation. The test facility noted 19 animals with ‘distress when picked up’ with ‘an open wound at the irradiation site.’
“Apparently 75% of these suffering and abused animals did not receive any pain relief,” Budkie charged. “The research staff at SNBL failed to follow their own protocol, did not administer pain relief as required, and failed to provide veterinary care to these animals.
(From PETA video of SNBL monkey use.)
Monkey injuries & deaths
“This same inspection,” Budkie said, “contains a Critical Repeat citation regarding a monkey whose radius and ulna were both fractured.”
This citation is identified as a repeated violation of the Animal Welfare Act because SNBL was previously cited in November 2016 for “the death of an infant macaque monkey due to maternal neglect, which was caused by staff negligence,” Budkie recalled, specifically that SNBL “returned the infant to the wrong mother, resulting in death.This inspection report also cited SNBL for the asphyxiation death of a male cynomolgus macaque who was found dead with a nine-inch chain wrapped around his neck.”
(Beth Clifton photo)
SNBL was also cited, added Budkie, “for inadequate euthanasia methods” in connection with “multiple protocols involving beagles, monkeys, and pigs,” and “because multiple primates were not being treated for stereotypical behaviors such as flipping and ripping out their hair,” as well as feces-flinging and smearing in one instance.
Budkie asked that SNBL should “receive the maximum in fines for these new infractions as well as all others which were the subject of previous citations –– $10.000 per infraction/per animal as well as the permanent suspension of their animal dealer license and the surrender of the SNBL research facility registration. In short, this animal lab/dealer should be permanently prevented from working with USDA regulated animals.
(From PETA video of SNBL monkey use.)
Previous fine said to be too light
SAEN, the Animal Welfare Institute, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals all denounced as too light the near-record $185,000 fine and other penalties issued against SNBL by the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service in December 2016.
Acting on a complaint filed by SAEN in May 2014, USDA-APHIS on that occasion suspended the SNBL dealer’s permit to trade in monkeys for 30 days.
Emphasized USDA-APHIS in announcing the fine and permit suspension, “The gravity of the violations alleged in this complaint is great and includes 38 deaths of nonhuman primates. Alleged violations occurred over an extended period of time,” from December 2011 through May 2016, USDA-APHIS said.
25 monkeys died in one 2013 incident
Summarized Everett Herald reporter Jim Davis, “The majority of the monkey deaths — 25 of the 38 — happened in October 2013, when the company sent 840 long-tailed macaques from Cambodia, to Houston, Texas. Upon arrival, SNBL veterinarians observed that that the monkeys were thirsty and appeared weak, thin and in poor shape. The company did not provide veterinary care to the macaques, but sent 360 of them to its facility in Alice, Texas and 480 to Everett. Five macaques died before arrival, 17 died or were euthanized shortly after, and three more monkeys died in the next five days.”
“On the radar since 2002”
Animal Welfare Institute president Cathy Liss observed that SNBL “has been on the USDA’s enforcement radar since at least 2002,” having been fined at least three times before the $185,000 fine.
“The USDA did not issue any fine, however, after a monkey was boiled alive in a cage washer at SNBL in 2007,” Liss said.
Tried to hide the evidence
Noted Houston Press reporter Craig Malisow, “The USDA—in concert with SNBL—filed a ‘motion to seal’ to prevent vital facts from this case being made available to the general public. As a result, a redacted complaint replaced the original document on the hearing docket, with crucial information blacked from the public eye. The motion to seal indicated a buckling by the USDA to the wishes of the company to keep the case details quiet.”
Merritt & Beth Clifton
Please help us continue speaking truth to power:
Filed Under: Advocacy, Animal organizations, Asia/Pacific, Chimps & other primates, Feature Home Bottom, Japan, Lab animals, Other species, Pacific rim, Regulation, Research & testing, Science, USATagged With: Merritt Clifton, Michael Budkie, Robert Gibbens, SAEN, SNBL
Imprisoned and Poisoned at SNBL: A Whistleblower Case
A distraught whistleblower from Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories (SNBL), a notorious Everett, Washington-based animal testing conglomerate, contacted PETA to reveal shocking allegations of mistreatment of animals used in painful and lethal experiments. The whistleblower weighed her concerns for her job and fear of retaliation against the suffering and deaths of animals that she witnessed every day at SNBL and repeatedly appealed to SNBL managers and supervisors to improve conditions for animals in the company’s laboratories. After those pleas were ignored, she felt compelled to contact PETA.
SNBL torments tens of thousands of primates, dogs, rabbits, and other animals every year to test products for other companies. It force-feeds animals experimental chemicals to intentionally sicken and kill them and infects them with debilitating diseases.
SNBL is the third-largest importer of primates in the U.S., purchasing nearly 3,000 monkeys every year from China, Cambodia, Israel, and Indonesia—some snatched from their homes and families in the wild—for use in experiments.
According to the whistleblower, in one experiment at SNBL, monkeys were hooked to their cages with a metal tether through which ice-cold saline solution and test compounds were continuously dripped into their veins. The monkeys were kept like this for many months and reportedly were so cold that they shivered and their teeth chattered non-stop. Monkeys had blood drawn from their arms many times a day, resulting in swelling, redness, and bruising of their limbs. These wounds were considered “routine” and were never treated. After the first few blood draws, the monkeys’ veins were damaged, and workers would poke and dig around in the limb to find others. The monkeys winced, screamed, trembled, and shook, and tried to defend themselves. The whistleblower said, “Eventually, many of the monkeys stop fighting and reacting … it is like the life is gone from them.”
While working at SNBL, the whistleblower observed workers handling the monkeys so violently that the animals suffered bloodied noses, broken fingers and toes, and bruises to their bodies. Their tails were bent or deformed because workers slammed cage doors on them. The employees also allegedly banged loudly on the monkeys’ cages to frighten and intimidate them into being quiet. Managers and supervisors apparently knew of this ongoing physical and psychological abuse of monkeys but refused to stop it.
The whistleblower also reported that monkeys were tied for many hours in restraint chairs with their arms and legs kept entirely immobile as drugs were injected intravenously over the course of a day. The whistleblower said, “The monkeys fight continuously for hours to loosen the ropes … it is just too much for them.” Some monkeys collapsed in the restraint chairs and never recovered.
A USDA report from 2011 documented that 78 percent of the monkeys at SNBL are caged alone—in violation of federal law—unable to touch or interact in any way with other monkeys. This is so distressing to monkeys that they develop stress-induced abnormal behaviors such as self-mutilation, incessant rocking, and hair-pulling.
Like the whistleblower, federal inspectors have also found cruelty and neglect inside SNBL’s laboratories. U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection and investigation reports reveal hundreds of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. The company was recently assessed fines of $31,000 and $12,900 for denying veterinary care and adequate pain relief to suffering animals and failing to ensure that experiments were not duplicated. SNBL also made headlines in 2008 after a whistleblower revealed that a monkey had been boiled to death when her cage was put into a high-temperature cage-washing machine while she was still in it. In 2010, the FDA cited SNBL for failing to ensure that employees charged with providing care for the thousands of animals at SNBL were properly trained.
SNBL’s customers—the companies for which it conducts tests on animals—include Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Genentech, and Seattle Genetics. Several government agencies—including the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services—have signed contracts with SNBL worth more than $1 million. And, SNBL profits from the importation and sales of monkeys for use in experimentation.
Please take a stand for the monkeys imprisoned at SNBL by calling on airlines to stop transporting primates destined for laboratories.