The Texas-headquartered supplier of research antibodies, reagents and purified proteins received the complaint from the USDA earlier this month, accusing the firm of wilfully violating the Animal Welfare Act in its treatment of goats and rabbits at its sites.
The alleged violations include an incident dating from July 7 this year when, according to the Agency’s complaint, the company failed to follow its own standard operating procedure for emergency euthanasia of a goat suffering with urinary calculi.
“At approximately 10.30 a.m., APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] inspectors found the goat in a depressed posture, unwilling to walk, and breathing heavily… By 3.30 p.m., the goat was agonal, suffering and in distress.
“As no veterinarian was available, respondent’s staff used a captive bolt gun alone (without a sedative or secondary euthanasia injection), to effect euthanasia of the goat at approximately 4.15 p.m.,” the complaint continued.
The USDA also cited Santa Cruz Biotechnology’s failure to meet the standards for handling rabbits on and around the same day, along with 13 other alleged violations dating back to September 2011.
The company did not respond to this publication’s requests by email and telephone for comment regarding the USDA’s allegations.
History of allegations
But in a statement, Michael Budkie, executive director of animal rights group SAEN, said: “We hope the government throws the book at Santa Cruz Biotech, which has a long history of animal abuse.”
He added this is the third complaint against Santa Cruz Biotechnology, which “is unprecedented by the USDA.”
In July 2010, the company resolved alleged violations from between October 2002 and December 2004 by paying a civil penalty of $4,600.
However, according to the USDA complaint, the firm has since been repeatedly cited by the APHIS for noncompliance with regulation and standards, as well as demonstrating bad faith by misleading the Agency about the existence of an undisclosed site which housed animals.