On Thursday, PETA sent a letter to 15th Judicial District Attorney Donald Landry asking him to investigate the deaths of five baby monkeys at a UL Lafayette research center in New Iberia.
The group has also asked Landry to file cruelty to animal charges against the university in the deaths of the animals.
PETA claims that the university violated a federal Animal Welfare Act regulation by denying the animals water. Those deaths occurred over two days.
A report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in August 2021 found that the monkeys had died of dehydration.
In the report it states that one infant rhesus macaque was euthanized on July 19 after showing signs of dehydration. Two others were found dead on July 20 and two more were euthanized that same say due to dehydration.
The USDA's report on the incident determined that a water pressure regulator was not working properly and was reducing water pressure to the room where the animals were housed. Changes were reportedly made following the incident.
"These infant monkeys couldn't even depend on staff for necessities as basic as water," said PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo in a release. "PETA is calling on the district attorney to investigate UL-Lafayette and file charges against those responsible for the suffering that they've caused."
Read PETA's full letter to the district attorney below:
UL Lafayette issued the following statement on the initial report of the primate deaths:
"The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and its staff members are diligent in the care provided to animals at the New Iberia Research Center. The center follows rules and guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies.
On July 20, 2021, a water pressure regulator malfunctioned at the New Iberia Research Center, resulting in an intermittent reduction in water pressure to an animal room housing non-human primates, circumventing the daily cage watering checks. Six infant rhesus macaques suffered dehydration and were immediately treated by the attending veterinarian. Two died and three were later euthanized when they did not respond to treatment; one fully recovered. NIRC promptly reported this incident to the USDA.
The NIRC has implemented additional daily manual checks and records of water pressure. The center is also enhancing its automatic continuous pressure monitoring with an alarm to alert staff to pressure values outside acceptable ranges that interfaces with the NIRC Building Automation System."
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