USDA cites Everett animal testing lab for injuring sedated monkey

Federal authorities say a worker dropped a monkey on the floor while repeatedly tossing it in the air.


EVERETT — Altasciences, an animal testing lab in south Everett, was cited by federal regulators for injuring a monkey that hit the floor after being repeatedly tossed into the air.

The Canadian firm operates the animal research facility, which it purchased from Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories in 2018.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, on May 16 an Altasciences worker was tossing a sedated long-tailed macacque into the air and catching him. In the final toss, the worker failed to catch the small monkey — about the size of a cat — and it crashed to the floor.

“The force of the impact from the unbroken fall caused bruising around his face and chin,” according to a USDA inspection conducted in September.

As a result of the incident, the company received one critical citation for exposing animals to potential injuries and undue stress due to improper handling procedures, the report said.

“Handling of all animals shall be done as expeditiously and carefully as possible in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort,” the report said.

The monkey was observed for 24 hours and recovered without incident and the company corrected the situation, the report said.

Reached by phone, Altasciences declined to comment Friday.

Based on the USDA report, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with local law enforcement, urging an immediate investigation of the Everett facility.

“It’s already difficult to imagine how anyone participates in the daily violence staffers visit upon animals imprisoned at Altasciences, but to also use the limp body of a sedated monkey as a plaything for their own ghoulish amusement is just sick,” PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna said in a statement.

PETA is urging Altasciences to modernize its laboratories and use non-animal research methods.

Founded in 1999, the contract animal testing facility is located at 6605 Merrill Creek Parkway on a 29-acre site.

The company provides early-stage research and other services to support the development of new drugs and treatments for humans.

Clients include drug development firms and biopharmaceutical and medical device companies.

“We maintain an unwavering focus on the welfare of the laboratory animals in our care,” Altasciences states on its website. “Our entire preclinical staff is trained in laboratory animal care and focused on animal welfare and environmental enrichment — embracing compassion, sensitivity and adherence to regulatory guidelines.”

In 2021, the company received four critical violations after four monkeys at the Everett facility had to be euthanized for humane reasons following a chemical overdose.

The facility’s previous owner, Shin Nippon, was fined $185,00 in 2016 over a federal complaint that 38 monkeys died in the company’s care over a five-year period. Shin Nippon reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that same year.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097;; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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