News ISSUES AFFECTING ANIMALS
Animal Transport Leads to Monkey Deaths
ALLERGAN WILL REDUCE ANIMAL TESTS The makers of the popular anti-wrinkle injection, Botox, which is also used for some medical conditions, have long been criticized for their cruel use of animals in safety testing. But now, Allergan has announced it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use a new test method that could reduce animal experiments for Botox by 95 percent worldwide. Traditional testing methods for this product included the LD50 (Lethal Dose 50) test, in which animals—usually mice—are given specific amounts of a substance to determine the dosage that kills 50 percent of them. The test
2 2011 PRIMATES & SCIENCE
causes considerable pain and eventual death by asphyxiation. Moreover, every batch of Botox needed to be tested before going to market, because it is a biological product. According to its press release, the California-based company spent more than 10 years and $65 million on researching the in vitro, cell based alternative that was submitted to the FDA and approved this year. The assay will immediately be put to use in production of Botox in the U.S., and the company stated that it will work to gain approval in other countries where it is distributed.
Class B Animal Dealer Shuts Down
Chestnut Grove Kennel, a random source Class B animal dealer whose owners were charged with conspiracy and fraud, closed its doors in September, and will no longer be selling dogs and cats to research. There are now only eight random source Class B dealers operating in the U.S. Floyd and Susan Martin operated their business out of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, the state’s only random source Class B animal dealer. The Martins sold about 600 dogs every year to research facilities throughout the country. Selling dogs and cats from random sources, such as pounds and shelters, to laboratories has been a hot-button issue for the past several years, and rightfully so. In 2009, the National Academies released a report stating that animals from random source Class B dealers are not needed in federal research, and last year, an audit of USDA’s oversight of Class B dealers concluded that the agency is failing to ensure that dealer activities are lawful.
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Charges of animal cruelty were filed against two men after more than a dozen monkeys were found dead in their shipping crates at the Los Angeles International Airport. The men had conspired to deliver the animals from Guyana to Thailand where a buyer had purchased them for unknown purposes. Akhtar Hussain from Guyana hired Robert Matson Conyers from Florida to make the delivery. “It wasn’t illegal for Conyers and Hussain to ship these animals,” said attorney Don Cocek, “but the conditions inside of the shipping containers was [sic] horrendous and criminal.” Fourteen marmosets, six squirrel monkeys, and five white-faced capuchins were packed into wooden shipping crates and traveled through Miami to Los Angeles, and then to Chinese airports. However, the animals were refused transit into China because of a problem with their shipping documents, and were returned to Los Angeles. Once back in the U.S., officials found 14 monkeys had died from starvation and hypothermia, and another had to be euthanized. There was also evidence that living animals ate the carcasses of those who were deceased, just to survive. The surviving animals were taken to the Los Angeles Zoo for emergency medical treatment and then transported to the San Diego Wild Animal Park for full recovery. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services first investigated their case and then transferred it to prosecutors in Los Angeles. If convicted, both men face up to six months in prison and $20,000 in fines.