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Harvard Medical School has been fined $24,036 by the USDA for 11 animal welfare violations regarding monkeys used in research from February 2011 until July 2012.

The violations include 4 animal deaths: 2 monkeys died from dehydration after staff failed to notice their water devices weren’t working, another monkey died after becoming entangled in a chain that strangled him and received no help and another monkey died after being overdosed with anesthetic.

Harvard Medical School released a statement saying that they agree with the fine and attribute the low figure to the “excellent work of those members of our community who took aggressive action to institute rigorous quality improvements that benefit animal safety and welfare.”

Justin Goodman with PETA said: “For an institution that receives $185 million annually in taxpayer funds alone, half of which is spent on animal experiments, a $24,000 fine for years of abusing and neglecting monkeys won’t motivate Harvard to do better by animals.

“Thankfully, the school already recognizes that tormenting monkeys is not the future of science and made the laudable decision to completely shut down its nightmarish primate center by 2015, meaning that thousands of animals will be spared this same horrible fate.”

Back in April, Harvard officials announced that their primate research centre won’t be reapplying for a five-year federal grant and will be largely shut down by 2015 due to a tough economic climate for biomedical research funding and shifting long-term strategic plans.

They are working on the relocation of almost 2,000 monkeys, perhaps to some of the seven other national primate research centres. None of the animals will be euthanized.

According to The Humane Society, 112,000 monkeys are currently kept for research in the U.S., including those being held and used for breeding.

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