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Alpha Genesis, Inc. under fire for treatment of primates

Alpha Genesis Inc. under fire for treatment of primates
Published: Aug. 30, 2016 at 8:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2016 at 5:52 PM EDT
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YEMASSEE, SC (WTOC) - In the small town of Yemassee, there is a unique research facility. Alpha Genesis Incorporated houses private and federal primates that are used for medical research.

Over the summer, 19 monkeys escaped from the facility, putting the town on high alert, but most recently, the USDA has opened an investigation into the facility. The investigation comes after the death of two monkeys were reported this summer.

The National Institute of Health reports that the first incident happened at the end of June when an adult Macaque monkey was found dead between a fixture. The second happened just a week later when an infant primate was found dead inside of an enclosure.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an organization that advocates for animal rights, has been very active in trying to bring action against the facility. They say the staff's action shows mistreatment of the animals.

"For an infant to become trapped in some kind of a barrel long enough for hypothermia to develop to the point that within 24 hours the animal was dead; this isn't something that takes five minutes, for the hypothermia to become that bad, and apparently they did some kind of treatment which was inefficient," said Michael Budkie, Co-Founder, SAEN.

This is not the first time a monkey has died at Alpha Genesis. In fact, documents we received Tuesday from USDA show that the facility has been cited several times for the handling of animals resulting in distress, injury, or death of the primates.

Alpha Genesis issued the following statement:

The events covered in your story were voluntarily reported in a timely manner by Alpha Genesis, Inc. to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) as part of its program to ensure compliance oversight to facilitate the highest standards of animal care. The events were thoroughly reviewed by OLAW, who found that Alpha Genesis, Inc. had taken appropriate measures to correct and prevent the recurrence of these events. Further, OLAW concurred that the actions taken by Alpha Genesis, Inc. fully comply with Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Running a primate facility is a bit like running a small city. Operations run smoothly 99.9% of the time, but, on occasion, something unpredictable happens and corrective action is then taken to minimize the likelihood of a repeat occurrence.

Dr. Greg Westergaard,

President and CEO, Alpha Genesis Inc. 

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