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Thread: The University of Louisiana at New Iberia Primate Research Story

  1. Research The University of Louisiana at New Iberia Primate Research Story


    Facility to broaden research, add jobs
    Marsha Sills
    msills@theadvertiser.com

    May 27, 2004

    UL Construction will begin within a month on an expansion of UL Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center, opening the door for more research and jobs, the center's director said.

    The center is home to nearly 6,000 primates used in medical research by pharmaceutical companies and the National Institutes of Health, a government consortium of institutes specializing in particular fields of study.

    The 50,000-square-foot expansion, which will cost nearly $9 million, is required to keep up with the center's research demands and federal regulations on cage space, said Thomas Rowell, the center's director. The lack of cage space has slowed the center's growth for the last 1 1/2 years and forced the center to turn away research.

    Pharmaceutical companies hire the research center to house and maintain animals vital to research during the developmental stages of drug manufacturing. Ten years may be needed to develop a new drug and get it approved for human trials, Rowell said.

    With the expansion, Rowell expects that between 50 and 100 new employees will be needed, some in specialized fields such as medical technology and veterinary science.

    John Robbins of Beyt, Robbins Inc. of New Iberia is the project architect. The firm specializes in medical facilities. Contractor M.D. Descant Inc. of Bunkie won the contract for the expansion, Robbins said.

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  2. #2

    Research Animal welfare at NIRC

    UL denies animal abuse allegations

    USDA confirms investigation of New Iberia Research Center

    The University of Louisiana at New Iberia Research Center is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act, a USDA spokesman confirmed Monday.

    Darby Holladay of the USDA would not confirm that the investigation stemmed from allegations made by a former employee, but a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Narriman Fakier alleges she was fired for blowing the whistle on animal cruelty and violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

    The lawsuit, filed against the state, Board of Supervisors of the UL System and UL, claims wrongful termination, retaliatory discharge, violation of First Amendment rights and violation of Whistleblower statutes.

    Allegations listed in Fakier's lawsuit tell of monkeys who died of cold exposure and animals being abused at the center, which houses about 6,000 primates for medical research by pharmaceutical companies and the National Institutes of Health. The center also has about 400 chimpanzees used for medical research.

    The university denies the allegations, said Ray Authement, UL president.

    "We've been very diligent in pursuing complaints and having them investigated when reported," Authement said Monday.

    Authement said he isn't aware of any other alleged violations against the center.

    "We've had some things in terms of sizes of cages to respond to, but I know of no serious violation that was reported or not taken care of," he said. "This is a model center for the United States, and we're very proud of the way it was run."

    The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is investigating the research center, said Holladay, but he could offer few details about the pending investigation.

    "There is an open investigation of possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act," Holladay said.

    The act prohibits animals being anesthetized in groups, a practice Fakier alleges.

    "The AWA stipulates that every licensee has to have at least an annual unannounced inspection," he said.

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    Marsha Sills
    msills@theadvertiser.com

  3. Louisiana Campus Louisiana seeks permission to build The Tanzania House

    Plans to build a national chimpanzee research observatory at the University of Louisiana's farm in Cade is moving closer to reality.

    At today's University of Louisiana System meeting, UL officials will ask for approval to build the first phase of the project - Tanzania House - a nearly $500,000 facility for the study of human-raised chimpanzees. The project has been planned for at least five years.

    Tanzania House will be the location for the study of human-raised chimps by UL's Cognitive Evolution Group, headed by researcher Daniel Povinelli. Povinelli was unavailable for comment.

    Researchers aren't interested in the chimps' rearing environment, but "the nature-nurture aspect" of how the chimps have been raised, said Conni Castille, a research associate and study director for the UL's Center for Child Studies.

    Povinelli's research group has followed the cognitive growth and interactions of chimpanzees that have been raised together since their birth on the grounds of the New Iberia Research Center. Povinelli's research group is separate from the NIRC which houses and breeds primates for drug research.

    The Tanzania House and future observatory will be located on about 20 acres of UL's farm in Cade.

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    Marsha Sills
    msills@theadvertiser.com

  4. #4

    Default Ethics Board probes 'reprisal' accusation at ULL primate lab


    New Iberia -- The state Board of Ethics is investigating a complaint that a supervisor at the University of Louisiana ... at Lafayette's primate research lab retaliated against an employee who reported alleged violations of federal animal care standards.

    The board is "exploring" allegations that Johnny Hardcastle, head of Animal Resources at UL's New Iberia Research Center, may have violated the state ethics code by subjecting former center employee Narriman Fakier "to acts of reprisal," according to a letter sent by the Ethics Board to an attorney representing the university.

    An Ethics Board attorney declined to discuss details of the case, but Fakier filed a lawsuit against the university in February alleging that she was forced to resign in early 2004 after complaining of mistreatment of animals at the center.

    Steven Dupuis, who is representing ULL and Hardcastle in the matter, said the ethics complaint is "going to be hotly contested."

    The letter states that the board has already conducted a preliminary investigation of the complaint in September and has ordered a public hearing. A public employee found to have violated the Code of Governmental Ethics can face a fine, suspension, demotion or termination. No hearing date has been set.

    Primates at the New Iberia Research Center are used in pharmaceutical and medical testing.

    Fakier, who worked for two years as a coordinator and animal facility manager at the center, said in the lawsuit that her repeated complaints of alleged violations of animal care guidelines were not acted upon.

    Fakier alleged that center Director Thomas Rowell told her that her "concerns would not be addressed by NIRC, and, if she had a problem with that, she should quit."

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    By RICHARD BURGESS
    rburgess@theadvocate.com
    Acadiana bureau




  5. Research Chimp Change


      Daniel Povinelli, director of the Cognitive Evolution Group, is thrilled about the project his team is working on right now: The National Chimpanzee Observatory.

    When finished, it will be the first large-scale center dedicated to researching chimpanzee behavior with five groups of about 15 primates. Although funding is still being sought, the planned facility would not only be a center for research, but also an educational tool that would allow the public to see the chimpanzees in a natural environment.

    Povinelli has been doing research with chimpanzees for more than 15 years. In 1991, he created the CEG. It is affiliated with the University of Louisiana ... at Lafayette and is located next to the New Iberia Research Center near Acadiana Airport. CEG is working with 10 to 15 chimpanzees trying to find out their self and social awareness. Another field of research is their stages of development. By comparing these stages to human development, the experiments help researchers understand child development and disorders like autism.

    The basic question Povinelli tries to answer is: What makes us human?

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    by CARLo ANGeRER
    the daily Iberian




  6. Default Authement Opts Out On Ape OP Opportunity


      A group of Lafayette residents hopes to attract to South Louisiana a national ape observatory and behavioral science research facility that will help sustain the chimpanzee population, draw world-class scientists and boost tourism.

    The National Great Ape Preservation Foundation, chaired by Gerald Breaux, executive director of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Center, was formed as a nonprofit corporation Feb. 27.

    The foundation envisions construction of a National Chimpanzee Observatory and Great Ape Zoological Gardens in South Louisiana, where up to 300 world-class scientists could use the apes for behavioral studies related to human problems such as autism and Alzheimer's. The research is not expected to involve invasive, medical or pharmaceutical research.

    The facility would provide a home for up to 250 great apes -which could include chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas - in a 200-acre natural habitat with observation towers for tourists and educational opportunities for students.

    UL professor Daniel Povinelli, a Louisiana native and Yale University graduate, is a top researcher on chimpanzees and human cognitive development. He is director of the National Chimpanzee Observatory National Project, a group of scientists hoping that the first of three such facilities nationwide will be built in Louisiana.

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    Claire Taylor
    ctaylor@theadvertiser.com



  7. #7

    Default DNA Chunks, Chimps And Humans:


      Researchers have carried out the largest study of differences between human and chimpanzee genomes, identifying regions that have been duplicated or lost during evolution of the two lineages. The study, published in Genome Research, is the first to compare many human and chimpanzee genomes in the same fashion.

    The team show that particular types of genes - such as those involved in the inflammatory response and in control of cell proliferation - are more commonly involved in gain or loss. They also provide new evidence for a gene that has been associated with susceptibility to infection by HIV.

    "This is the first study of this scale, comparing directly the genomes of many humans and chimpanzees," says Dr Richard Redon, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a leading author of the study. "By looking at only one 'reference' sequence for human or chimpanzee, as has been done previously, it is not possible to tell which differences occur only among individual chimpanzees or humans and which are differences between the two species.

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  8. #8
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    Default Oh no...

    ABC's Nightline has picked up the NIRC story. Someone (allegedly) smuggled a camera in, and took some disturbing footage.

    One caveat: there's no proof (yet) that the videos are indeed of the NIRC. When highly offensive video came out years ago about hunting seal pups, it was strongly believed at the time that the animal activists actually paid the hunters to produce horrific videos.

    Let's all keep an open mind, see what comes out of this.


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    Track & Field Re: Oh no...

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunFun View Post
    _ ABC's Nightline has picked up the NIRC story.
    Please pardon my ignorance, but what is the NIRC and what is the "story"?

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by drumroll View Post
    Please pardon my ignorance, but what is the NIRC and what is the "story"?
    Ditteaux!
    igeaux.mobi

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    Default Re: Oh no...

    Yeah I think NIRC is New Iberia Research Center (?) a UL affiliated research facility where of course they do research on monkey's. I haven't heard anything about any videos or anything. Please enlighten.


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    Default Re: Oh no...

    Quote Originally Posted by ULtimateCajun View Post
    _ Yeah I think NIRC is New Iberia Research Center (?) a UL affiliated research facility where of course they do research on monkey's. I haven't heard anything about any videos or anything. Please enlighten. _
    The link is up on ultoday...

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    Hammer58 is offline Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Greatest Fan Ever
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    Default Re: Oh no...

    Quote Originally Posted by ULtimateCajun View Post
    _ Yeah I think NIRC is New Iberia Research Center (?) a UL affiliated research facility where of course they do research on monkey's. I haven't heard anything about any videos or anything. Please enlighten. _
    The DA has a headline on their website for a story in which the Humane Society states they conducted an undercover investigation and will soon release their results. Of course, if their definition of "soon" is anything like our admin's understanding of "soon" the incident will be a distant memory by the time the report is released.

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    Default Re: Oh no...

    There is a video on the the Daily Adv. I'm at work so it won't play but here is the link..

    http://theadvertiser.com/article/200...EWS01/90304028


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    Ragin' Cajuns Re: Oh no...

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunFun View Post
    _ ABC's Nightline has picked up the NIRC story. Someone (allegedly) smuggled a camera in, and took some disturbing footage.

    One caveat: there's no proof (yet) that the videos are indeed of the NIRC. When highly offensive video came out years ago about hunting seal pups, it was strongly believed at the time that the animal activists actually paid the hunters to produce horrific videos.

    Let's all keep an open mind, see what comes out of this. _
    Knowing you as many of us do, would you be quite so open-minded about this if the lab was not UL's??

    By the way, if this DOES turn out to be true, it could end up being the worst of black eyes for this University. FUN, am I over-reacting in saying that???

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    Ragin' Cajuns Re: Oh no...

    OH NO is right. The USDA's getting involved now:

    http://www.theadvertiser.com/article...NTPAGECAROUSEL


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    Default Re: Oh no...

    Quote Originally Posted by NOCajun View Post
    _ Knowing you as many of us do, would you be quite so open-minded about this if the lab was not UL's??

    By the way, if this DOES turn out to be true, it could end up being the worst of black eyes for this University. FUN, am I over-reacting in saying that??? _
    I'd probably still be open-minded. Remember, I'm a doctor and a scientist. I voiced some complaints over the use of animals at Tulane, but it wasn't what everyone else complained about. My concerns were for trivial use of animal life. For instance, we sacrificed mice just to demonstrate pharmacological principals, and I didn't think it was necessary, or even particularly effective. I don't mind sacrificing animals for significant uses, I just don't believe their lives are worthless, and I don't think that they don't feel pain.

    Read my interview with Jeff Rowell on ultoday. The research at NIRC is critical. http://ultoday.com/node/124

    As for my doubts about these videos, those primates cost a LOT of money. You don't treat them badly.

    Another thing is, they have 6,000 primates there, in cages. You're going to see some unhappy animals if you walk around, but when I was there, they were mostly bored.

    Finally, I think there's a clip in there of a young monkey being hit in the teeth, and force fed (I read a bullet, didn't watch all of the video).

    Think about it: How do you get that video? If you can hide the camera, I suppose you maybe could do it. But when procedures are done on animals, there are only three or four people present. It would be hard to get a clip like that without the other people knowing about it.

    Which makes me wonder if the videographer didn't have it staged it for the camera.

    Yes, it could be bad for UL, if they prove that this happened. But they aren't going to close it down, and we won't lose it. It's too important. The worst that could happen is that we get a black eye.

    But again, this is a multimillion dollar operation, and they were hit with these complaints a couple of years ago, and took extra steps to make sure these things don't happen.

    And now this shows up. It just seems fishy.

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    Default Re: Oh no...

    I always find it funny that we butcher and eat some animals without a second though while we have to treat other animals like we would treat a human being.


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    Default Re: Oh no...

    Its the Humane Society, they have tons of money that people donate to them thinking they are supporting their local animal shelters. Instead what they are actually supporting is lunatics like this who want to shut down every Circus, Rodeo, Popeyes, etc. Basically anything that deals with animals.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Oh no...

    Statement of the New Iberia Research Center at the University of Louisiana ... at Lafayette in response to a campaign by the Humane Society regarding biomedical research


    The American public continues to advocate and financially support medical research aimed at finding cures for diseases and illnesses that are detrimental to their quality of life. The New Iberia Research Center plays a vital role in research that advances the nation's public health.

    Endless debate has ensued as to the best approach to conduct this research but little debate has questioned the need. Biomedical research is a stringently regulated field and the New Iberia Research Center maintains professional standards that meet and surpass these regulations.

    The videos posted online today by ABC Nightline and the Humane Society and obtained in an undercover manner at the New Iberia Research Center are part of a larger campaign by the Humane Society to ban the use of chimpanzees in research. Nothing in the videos alter the fact that the New Iberia Research Center is in compliance with all federal standards and guidelines regarding the care and use of animals, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control.

    The New Iberia Research Center has made and continues to make numerous contributions to public health improvements for the prevention and treatment of diseases such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, mumps, measles, chicken pox, prion diseases (mad cow disease). In addition, advances are being made in the development of antiviral compounds, therapeutic proteins, gene therapy, and in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

    We take very seriously our responsibility to care for the animals housed at the center and to carry out biomedical research according to federal rules and regulations. We are driven by high standards and ethics and believe the videos distort acceptable standard procedures and incorrectly imply mistreatment of nonhuman primates at the New Iberia Research Center. We take seriously our mission to conduct research that plays a critical role in protecting the health of the nation.


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