Animal rights group says two more monkeys died unnecessarily at MPI Research in Mattawan

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Animal rights group says two more monkeys died unnecessarily at MPI Research in Mattawan

By Al Jones,, Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MATTAWAN, MI – Two more monkeys have died unnecessarily at scientific testing firm MPI Research in Mattawan, an animal rights group says.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now is calling on the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to police the progress of an earlier complaint that the group says may have helped stop the deaths, which apparently occurred in April.

Attempts to contact MPI Research Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William U. Parfet or a spokesperson for the contract research company were not successful Tuesday.

“This is actually a repeat of a previous situation where essentially the USDA has not taken action on the previous complaint,” said Michael A. Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now . “There is a case sitting in their system that they haven’t taken action on.”

The organization filed a complaint last September  calling for the USDA to levy fines against MPI Research after an unnamed individual, who apparently once worked at MPI and provided documentation that two primates, one dog and a pig were apparently euthanized at the research facility in Mattawan. They allegedly suffered broken bones or other trauma sometime between last fall and June of 2007. The injured were supposedly a result of negligence or being mishandled, the whistle-blower alleged.

The new complaint stems from an inspection that Stop Animal Exploitation Now said was reported on the USDA’s web site.

“We have taken the step of asking USDA’s internal overseer, the office of the inspector general, to look into how their eastern regional office is handling this case,” said Budkie, whose 16-year-old organization tries to end abuse of animals in laboratories. It is based in Milford,  Ohio.

Joan Manners, senior director of marketing for MPI, provided a statement last year in reaction to last year's complaint. It stated that MPI Research is committed to a humane and ethical work environment, continually works to develop and maintain the highest standards required by law and regulations, and works to ensure the highest standards of care.

The company is hired by pharmaceutical and biotech companies to do safety and efficacy studies on pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Its laboratories had 1,295 monkeys on Aug. 3 of last year, according to a USDA report. The majority were crab-eating macaques.

Of actions that should be taken by MPI, Budkie suggested, “At the very least, they need to change their procedures or train their staff so that they learn how to handle animals without causing broken bones. We don't know if this is something that is being done accidentally or intentionally. We have no idea what is going on.”

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