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OHSU Primate Center Being Investigated For Mistreating Monkeys

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Thursday it’s investigating the treatment of research monkeys at Oregon Health And Science University.

The feds wouldn’t outline the reason for the investigation.

But over the last two years, OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center has been warned about monkeys being burned by heating pads; one that died under respiratory distress; and 27 that either died in fights or were seriously injured.

Michael Budkie of ‘Stop Animal Exploitation Now!’ says OHSU entered into    four years ago, after violating the Animal Welfare Act. And two years ago, got a warning letter,  “There comes a time when you begin to wonder how often a facility will be allowed to break the law," he said. 

"We would like to see the USDA take a meaningful enough penalty against OHSU that either they stop breaking the law, or they move away from using primates in experimentation.”

In a statement, primate center director Nancy Haigwood said her office had not been contacted about any investigation. She said scientists adhere to the "appropriately stringent" Animal Welfare Act.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.