ABQ research lab fined over monkey deaths - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ research lab fined over monkey deaths

Lovelace Biomedical on Kirtland Air Force Base has come under fire for the treatment of animals used in research at the lab. (Courtesy of Lovelace Biomedical)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

An Albuquerque research laboratory was fined $6,200 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in connection with the deaths of two monkeys.

Lovelace Biomedical, formerly Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, was found to have violated the Animal Welfare Act in the deaths of two macaques in 2019, according to a USDA citation and notification of penalty issued last month.

One of the monkeys died during a face-mask inhalation procedure after it wiggled its arms out of restraints and got entangled in the equipment, according to the citation.

The other macaque was found dead in its enclosure with five other monkeys. The primate was dehydrated, had little to no visceral fat and an overall thin body composition. After the death, the facility raised potential compatibility issues between the same group of monkeys, according to a USDA inspection report.

Observations for compatibility are important within primate groups to prevent individual animals from being denied access to food, water or shelter by other animals, according to the inspection report. The report also identifies other administrative issues at the facility.

The fine followed a federal complaint against the Albuquerque lab by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, an Ohio-based nonprofit that investigates animal abuse in U.S. research facilities.

“The incidents … are not only animal care issues. They indicate a level of negligence that is extreme,” Michael Budkie, the executive director of SAEN, said. “Because if you’re not watching the primates well enough to make sure that they’re even eating or managing the inhalation procedure well enough to make sure the monkey doesn’t suffocate, then why should we believe the results?”

Officials with Lovelace Biomedical did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

In the letter making the complaint against the facility, Budkie asked for a fine in the “six-figure range.”

“It’s clear that the Lovelace facility should be penalized, because they are functioning criminally. … However, we feel the fines should have been larger,” he said. “They become just a part of the cost of doing business. The major deterrent becomes the negative public attention and the negative media attention that damages the facility’s reputation.”

Located on Kirtland Air Force Base, Lovelace Biomedical sits on 100 acres of land and has 300,000 square feet of laboratory space. The lab specializes in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research, including gene therapies, orphan diseases, infectious diseases and neurological conditions, according to the company’s website.

It’s not the first time federal investigators have uncovered problems at the lab. The lab was found to have violated the Animal Welfare Act numerous times over the years, according to Journal archives.

In 2018, the Albuquerque lab was part of a Volkswagen emissions scandal, during which tests were done using illegal software to cheat emissions tests. Those tests were done on macaques at the Lovelace lab.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » ABQ research lab fined over monkey deaths


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Ex-salon owner who performed ‘vampire facials’ pleads guilty
ABQnews Seeker
Maria de Lordes Ramos de Ruiz ... Maria de Lordes Ramos de Ruiz faces up to 7½ years in prison under the agreement
2
Leak detection companies investigate Chama water leak
ABQnews Seeker
Two leak detection companies arrived in ... Two leak detection companies arrived in the northern New Mexico village of Chama this week to assess a water system failure which has left ...
3
NM 50-year water plan ‘not all doom and gloom’
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico is nearing the finish ... New Mexico is nearing the finish line on a 50-year water plan aimed at helping the state prepare for climate change impacts on future ...
4
Protesters rallying in ABQ against Supreme Court decision overturning ...
ABQnews Seeker
As soon as local advocates for ... As soon as local advocates for abortion rights heard about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade Friday morning they got to ...
5
Santa Fe complex residents must move after power outage
ABQnews Seeker
More than 50 tenants at a ... More than 50 tenants at a Santa Fe apartment complex are being forced to move out because of electrical issues. Residents of the Railyard ...
6
Man arrested in brother's death in SE ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
dragging him down the street and ... dragging him down the street and killing him — during a fight Thursday night in Southeast Albuquerque. Decio Lee, 24, is charged with an ...
7
Dems in NM weigh legislative response to abortion ruling
2022 election
Just last year, New Mexico lawmakers ... Just last year, New Mexico lawmakers repealed a state law making it a crime to end a woman's pregnancy. But Democratic legislative leaders say ...
8
Former NM state senator joins Game Commission
ABQnews Seeker
Governor's latest commission appointment was announced ... Governor's latest commission appointment was announced at a recent meeting in Santa Fe
9
Keller nominates Rael for top city job
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has picked ... Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has picked Lawrence Rael to fill the top job in his administration, seeking to make what is an interim assignment ...