NEW IBERIA (AP) — Preliminary findings suggest there has been no wrongdoing at the primate center operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
In January, Stop Animal Exploitation Now asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the New Iberia Research Center. The group alleged that nine primates died at the center in recent years, and that some apparently died from undiagnosed medical conditions.
“USDA’s preliminary findings indicate no evidence of violations of veterinary care and monitoring of non-human primates,” said Julie Simon-Dronet, a spokeswoman for the university.
Simon-Dronet said USDA officials visited the center Feb. 18 and reviewed the records of the animals in question. The officials also interviewed NIRC’s director and the head of the center’s Division of Veterinary Sciences.
Jim Barrett, public affairs specialist with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said he was not aware of any pending or ongoing investigations into the facility.
Simon-Dronet said the university has also taken internal steps to address SAEN’s allegations. A subcommittee of the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee conducted an internal review after the group raised its concerns.
The preliminary findings indicated the animals’ care met standards established by the federal Animal Welfare Act, Simon-Dronet said. She also said those findings were accepted by the full committee.
SAEN Executive Director Michael Budkie said USDA officials acknowledged they received his request for an investigation, but had not contacted him further about the matter.
“We haven’t received anything new, and we’re still waiting for information,” Budkie said.