Animal rights group accuses Yemassee monkey lab of inhumane conditions

Animal rights group accuses Yemassee monkey lab of inhumane conditions
Published: Apr. 14, 2014 at 10:06 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2014 at 10:15 PM EDT
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Over a thousand monkeys are being used for research and testing in a lab in Yemassee. Monday, a national animals rights group exposed photos of what, they claim, are inhumane conditions causing dozens of the animals to die at that lab.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an animal protection group based out of Ohio, has filed a complaint about Alpha Genesis Incorporated with federal government.

According to their website, Alpha Genesis, Inc. breeds and experiments on over 1,000 primates for medical research. The federal government pays for some of the animals used in the research.

The co-founder of SAEN was in Charleston to discuss what's happening at the Yemassee lab and says it should outrage all tax payers.

"We think that people in the United States should be very concerned about this, even if they don't care about animals at all," said Michael Budkie, co-founder of SAEN.

Budkie says Alpha Genesis should face strict fines and potential closure for it's poor treatment of hundreds of monkeys in their care.

"This facility can't even provide adequate housing and animal care for these animals," said Budkie.

According to public records, AGI received over $2.7 million in 2013, to care for the monkeys.

"Our tax money is going to fund this facility that cant even keep monkeys alive just simply due to negligence, i think its a big issue," said Carol Herard, SAEN supporter.

Budkie says with that kind of funding, one should expect updated facilities and high quality animal care. But instead, Budkie claims conditions are inhumane and animals are suffering from neglect. Budkie says a whistle blower has provided them photos to prove it.

"Animals are dying at Alpha Genesis simply due to exposure to the weather," said Budkie.

Budkie says the photos unveil cruel conditions inside AGI, including monkeys with no hair on their limbs, due to frostbite. He also says some images show standing water inside the enclosed areas where monkeys are kept.

"If people knew what they did in these facilities they would be completely outraged," said Herard.

This isn't the first time AGI has run into trouble. According to United States Department of Agriculture, back in 2012, several monkeys had to be euthanized after getting hyperthermia at the Yemassee facility. Alpha Genesis was also cited for poor lighting and several eroding, unstable corrals.

An employee at Alpha Genesis spoke with Live 5 on the phone, but wouldn't provide his name. He denied that any monkeys dying from poor treatment or neglect. However, he did admit they have a drainage problem they are working to fix.

When asked if he wanted to see the photos that SAEN claims are from inside their lab and he refused, saying there was "no point."

SAEN has filed a complaint with the USDA. It oversees the Animal Welfare Act, which regulates animal care in laboratories. A spokesman with the USDA tells Live 5 they have received the complaint against Alpha Genesis and are currently investigating the matter.

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