Jessica Milteer (301) 734-3265
Andrea McNally (301) 734-0602
Inspectors Cite Multiple Issues
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2009--The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the results of an inspection of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center. The inspection was conducted on March 17 by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in response to a complaint filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The inspection revealed evidence of several issues with the facility's compliance with Animal Welfare Act (AWA) standards. USDA will be taking immediate action to ensure that these issues are corrected.
The complaint filed by HSUS was in regard to the facility's treatment of its nonhuman primates, but APHIS conducted a thorough review of all areas of care and treatment under the agency's authority. Inspectors cited the facility for issues with its handling of animals as well as its environment enhancement of nonhuman primates.
The inspectors also found problems with New Iberia's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) which is tasked with the review and approval of research protocols. The AWA requires each research facility to have a properly trained IACUC made up of at least three representatives--one of whom must be unaffiliated with the institution--to conduct proper reviews of its protocols before granting approval. APHIS' inspection of New Iberia documented several non-compliances related to its IACUC including incomplete descriptions of protocols and insufficient consideration of alternatives to procedures that may cause distress.
APHIS will be working with the facility to ensure that corrective actions are taken that bring the facility into compliance with the law and ensure the humane treatment of its animals.
The AWA is a minimum standards law that requires certain commercial animal businesses and research institutions be licensed or registered with USDA and inspected for compliance with the law. Penalties for violators range from letters of warning to significant monetary penalties, and license suspension or revocation for dealers and exhibitors.
The complete inspection report on USDA's findings at New Iberia can be found on the APHIS' Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/efoia/index.shtml.