UC Davis Pays Penalty to USDA

The University of California, Davis, has paid a $4,815 civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in connection with the August 2004 deaths of seven monkeys. The deaths were due to a mechanical failure that resulted in the overheating of the room in which the animals were housed.

"We deeply regret this sad incident and we accepted the USDA's fine without challenge," said Stan Nosek, vice chancellor for administration at UC Davis. "We are working to ensure that such an accident never happens again."

Since August 2004, campus officials have been conducting an audit of all environmental monitoring systems in animal housing, Nosek said. The audit is expected to be completed by February 2006.

The seven animals, all adult cynomolgous monkeys, were housed together in a room south of campus and away from the campus's California National Primate Research Center. Immediately following the August 2004 incident, 32 other monkeys housed at the location were moved to the primate center, which has 24-hour environmental monitoring in all rooms. The south campus room has not been used for animal housing since the incident.

At the time, UC Davis officials immediately reported the incident to the USDA. A subsequent investigation by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concluded that the university had been in breach of federal regulations and assessed the civil penalty of $4,815. Specifically, the inspectors cited UC Davis for failure to keep the room's thermostat and cutoff switch in good repair.

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Mitchel Benson, (530) 752-9844, mdbenson@ucdavis.edu

Andy Fell, 530-752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu