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Tax-payer watchdog group: FDA lab hid monkey deaths in Arkansas

BILL BOWDEN: ‘The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s toxicology lab in Arkansas didn’t report the deaths of four squirrel monkeys to a laboratory animal-welfare office because it wasn’t required to do so, according to the FDA. But a taxpayer-watchdog group said it appears the National Center for Toxicological Research near Pine Bluff tried to skirt the federal Freedom of Information Act and keep the monkey deaths a secret.

“I think most people would find it absurd that the FDA would report a paperwork error on the monkey experiments (as they did in July 2016), or a fire in the monkey lab that didn’t harm any animals (as they did in August 2017), but decide not to report monkeys repeatedly dying unexpectedly in the same experiments,” Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy for the White Coat Waste Project, said…The White Coat Waste Project sued the FDA in August after trying for eight months to obtain information about a nicotine addition study involving monkeys at the Arkansas facility.

On Sept. 25, The Washington Post published a story citing anonymous sources saying four monkeys had died at the Arkansas lab. That prompted the White Coat Waste Project to file an open-records request Oct. 3 with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Among other things, the project requested information about “animal welfare noncompliance incident reports” at the Arkansas lab. The office produced documents 10 days later, but none of them mentioned any monkey deaths at the Arkansas facility, Goodman said’. SOURCE…

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