13 primates die at Covance Texas facility due to overheating

By Zachary Brennan contact

- Last updated on GMT

The primates that died were cynomolgus monkeys
The primates that died were cynomolgus monkeys

Related tags: Animal rights, Covance

On two separate incidents in September and October, a total of 13 primates died at a Covance research facility in Alice, Texas due to hyperthermia.

According to the inspection report from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), the first event involved a thermostat malfunction that killed two primates and Covance initiated corrective measures to install override switches in all animal rooms. 

But just a month later, an “improperly wired thermostat override switch caused a room to overheat resulting in the deaths of 11 animals​,” the inspector’s report says. 

At this point we have received the complaint and are still determining our next steps​,” USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinoza told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “We may decide to open an investigation, which may result in an Official Letter of Warning...Or we may issue a Stipulation Fine, this is a monetary penalty.  We could also send the investigation to the Administrative Law Judges who would then issue a Penalty Fine (monetary) and can suspend or revoke a license​.” 

Covance did not respond to a request for comment. The animal deaths come a little more than a month since LabCorp announced plans to acquire Covance​, which analysts and investors seem to favor. 

PETA and other animal rights groups have previously condemned Covance’s practices at other labs, including one in Virginia. 

According to the Associated Press​, Michael Budkie, executive director of Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now, has filed a complaint with USDA seeking a fine of more than $100,000 against Covance.

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