Bristol-Myers Hit Again For Deaths of Monkeys

Bristol-Myers Hit Again For Deaths of Monkeys

March 20th, 2012 // 2:39 pm @

Source: Pharmalot

For the second time in less than a year, Bristol-Myers Squibb has been cited by the US Department of Agriculture for violating the Animal Welfare Act by allowing a monkey to die at one of its facilities. Although the exact cause of death was not disclosed, the macaque was left unattended last December while restrained during a medical procedure, according to the USDA report (read here).

The mishap follows the death of another macaque last July when a cage was being sanitized, but the primate remained locked inside when the cage was moved to a washroom and submerged in near-boiling water (back story). Only later did an employee discover the mistake, according to the earlier USDA report (see this). Both episodes were conveyed by an unnamed whistleblower to animal-rights groups, which alerted the USDA.

“The primate should not have been left unattended,” says Michael Budkie, who heads Stop Animal Exploitation Now, one of two groups that alerted the USDA and publicized the deaths. “It is time for the Eastern Region of the USDA to take meaningful action against this lab which has now killed two monkeys through carelessness. Bristol Myers is, literally, getting away with murder.”

We asked Bristol-Myers for a comment and will update you accordingly.

Meanwhile, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which also disclosed the deaths, has once again submitted a shareholder resolution for the annual Bristol-Myers stockholder meeting that urges the drugmaker to minimize its use of animals by implementing modern, non-animal testing methods. As it has in the past, Bristol-Myers is expected to oppose the resolution.

“We use these resolutions for two reasons,” says Jessica Sandler, director of the PETA regulatory testing division. “To let people know about the concerns over the treatment of animals and also to lead to negotiations with these companies about better care and better testing.”

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