A monkey died at the Tulane Primate Center.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reprimanded officials at the Tulane National Primate Research Center near Covington for not providing requested documentation of the death of a crab-eating macaque there in 2021. USDA officials conducted an annual inspection of the 500-acre property in September, according to a report published in December. They also requested that Tulane officials turn over documents related to the death of the monkey, but one document was not furnished “in a reasonable time frame,” the inspection report says.  The report says the death of the macaque was caused by a faulty cage. “The primary enclosure … was not safe for this particular animal as it did not protect the primate from injury,” the inspection report says. “Primary enclosures must be designed and constructed so that they protect the nonhuman primates from injury.” The USDA gave Tulane until Oct. 10, 2022, to correct the cage issue. A Tulane spokesperson, Keith Brannon, said Tuesday that the cage in use was an industry standard, and all cages at the center “meet or exceed USDA standards.” The Primate Center “continually refines its processes to ensure that incidents like this remain exceedingly rare,” Brannon said.

The complaint ws filed by a People for Ethical Treatment for Animals.

The monkey’s death prompted a complaint from the nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which accused the primate center of violating policy provisions on the humane use of laboratory animals. The animal rights organization requested that the National Institutes of Health, which provides the lion’s share of the primate center’s funding, investigate the monkey’s death. Crab-eating macaques are one type of the more than 5,000 monkeys kept at the primate center. Native to southeast Asia, crab-eating macaques can grow to almost two feet in length and weigh about 20 pounds. The species is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  Most of the monkeys housed at the center are kept in the “breeding colony,” which means they are not used for research but to create healthy genetic lines of primates that can be supplied to researchers. In recent years, researchers at the Tulane National Primate Center have conducted research into AIDS/HIV, Lyme disease, malaria, tuberculosis, rotavirus and other illnesses.

The Center is on the North shore.

In the decades it has operated on the north shore, the center has not been without controversy. Dozens of monkeys escaped in two different instances in 2003 and 2005. In 2015, the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended its license to work with certain dangerous bioagents, after lax safety procedures by some staff resulted in the escape from containment of the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, or Whidmore’s disease. The disease can be fatal if not treated. The center’s license to work with those agents was reinstated in 2016.

I had heard of it but never seen anything on it.

Death at primate center blamed on cage