SAN ANTONIO – The Humane Society of the United States has now released a hidden camera video taken inside the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio showing what the society said is mistreatment of primates there.
HSUS said an investigator went undercover as an animal caretaker at Texas Biomed in 2013 and found a pattern of animal mistreatment, including overcrowding and lack of veterinary care.
Kathleen Conlee, HSUS VP of animal research issues, said primates were showing signs of stress.
"We uncovered multiple problems at this facility, severe problems with animals who are psychologically disturbed," Conlee said via Skype. "We saw animals that were pacing, pulling their hair out, mutilating themselves. We saw mothers that were torn from their un-weaned infants."
The investigator's time at the facility came two years after a 2011 report from the United States Department of Agriculture.
The department cited Texas Biomed for violating the Animal Welfare Act after a juvenile rhesus macaque escaped, assessing a $25,714 penalty.
HSUS said it found in its five-week investigation that problems were still occurring.
"A baboon died of septicemia from trauma and he was extremely thin and in bad condition," Conlee said. "There was a female who was repeatedly injured and had her tail amputated. So we found these inadequate veterinary care problems."
An inspection report from the USDA said the animal was emaciated at the time of death and had multiple scabs from bite wounds.
The report found an adult female rhesus who was involved in a traumatic episode. A portion of the tail was also amputated.
"Twenty-five thousand dollars clearly wasn't enough of a fine to get them to clean up their act," Conlee said.
Texas Biomed would not answer questions about the HSUS investigation but provided this statement:
Texas Biomedical Research Institute Statement
Animal research has saved lives, extended life expectancy, and improved the quality of life for both humans and animals by enabling scientists to conduct critical experiments that identified ways to prevent, treat, and cure disease. At Texas Biomed, we have a long-standing commitment to treating animals humanely and with the highest regard for their well-being, and we continuously seek to enhance the care provided to the primates in the Southwest National Primate Research Center, for the sake of the animals, as well as the quality of the research programs that are at the core of our mission.
On its website Texas Biomed said its facilities are routinely inspected by three federal agencies.
Here are documents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture detailing findings at Texas Biomedical Research Institute: