Antibody Supplier Faces Lawsuit for Cruelty to Animals

Antibody Supplier Faces Lawsuit for Cruelty to Animals

January 22nd, 2013 // 4:04 pm @



In the latest instance in which animal-rights activists are placing pressure on biomedical research, one such group has filed a lawsuit against a California company, which supplies antibodies to laboratories, for violating state cruelty and unfair competition laws.

The group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, claims that Santa Cruz Biotechnology, has provided improper care to unhealthy animals; overdrawn blood; harvested blood from unhealthy animals; insufficiently monitored animal health, and maintained inadequate health records. The company houses some 10,000 goats and 5,000 rabbits at its facility, where antibodies are made by harvesting blood from the animals (here is the lawsuit). Santa Cruz has not responded to requests for comment.

The rights group based its allegations on reports by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, which recently filed a complaint against Santa Cruz Biotech for 20 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (here is the complaint and some reports can be seen here, here and here). “The USDA has been unable to end the suffering of animals at Santa Cruz Biotech,” says SAEN director Michael Budkie, in a statement. “This lawsuit is the only way to make this criminal lab follow the law.”

This is the latest move in a flurry of recent activity by animal-rights groups to pressure biopharma and related companies to reduce or eliminate their use of animals. In the UK, groups are planning a protest campaign against any airline that agrees to transport some 300 beagles from an AstraZeneca (AZN) facility that is being closed.

In the US, United Airlines (UAL) this month agreed to halt shipments of primates to or from medical research laboratories anywhere in the world. The decision means there are no longer any North American carriers that will transport primates for research purposes into the US or Canada (see here and here).

The various efforts are having an affect. Gilead Sciences (GILD) last week agreed to end the use of chimpanzees in research (back story). And last fall, the National Institutes of Health took the same step after a report recommended the agency discontinue use of the primates for research (read here).

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