An animal welfare group criticized the University of Florida for alleged mistreatment of one of its lab monkeys -- the latest in a string of accusations against large U.S. schools for animal welfare issues. The group, Eleventh Hour for Animals, filed a complaint with the USDA last week, The Gainesville Sun reports:
The group alleges UF violated the Animal Welfare Act in its treatment of Louis, a macaque monkey that was euthanized in 2010. The complaint is based on documents obtained through a two-year legal battle over the release of public records. Karen Kline, the senior laboratory investigator for Eleventh Hour, claimed that the treatment of Louis illustrates a "culture of negligence, and more likely than not, sheer incompetence ..." and asked for a full investigation of the 25 primates at UF. The group asked for swift, disciplinary action if the allegations are substantiated.
A spokesperson for the university acknowledged the complaint, saying that the institution provides "a healthy, safe environment for our animals."
Just last month, Harvard University was fined $24,000 by the USDA for repeated animal welfare violations that resulted in the deaths of four monkeys since 2011. The University of Louisiana, Lafayette, was fined $38,000 for violations in 2013, while Oregon Health and Sciences University was fined $11,679 in 2012. University of California, Davis also drew backlash when 50 rhesus monkeys escaped in 2011, and a 2012 USDA report stated that an employee at Emory University killed a monkey by mistakenly giving it the wrong compound.