CORAPEAKE, N.C., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Contrary to a report in today's Virginian-Pilot, a comprehensive inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of NC-based Professional Laboratory and Research Services (PLRS) has found no evidence of animal neglect or abuse. The USDA finding follows People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) September release of a contrived video that inaccurately depicts the conditions at PLRS, in a malicious attempt to force the small business to close its doors.
Two USDA veterinarians visited PLRS on September 13 and 14, 2010 and conducted a thorough medical review of every animal at the facility. Their inspection revealed no evidence of abuse or neglect. In addition, USDA performed a routine inspection of the facility on July 7, 2010 – during the time PETA's operative was working there – and found no evidence that would corroborate the group's baseless claims.
"PLRS was the target of a premeditated smear campaign by PETA, a group that opposes all forms of biomedical research," stated veterinary parasitologist and PLRS Vice President Dr. Larry Cruthers, Ph.D. "PETA's contrived video was engineered to mislead the public about PLRS and the company's strong commitment to animal welfare and regulatory compliance. The USDA's inspection report shows there is no proof to PETA's unfounded accusations."
In the company's 24-year history, it has never been the subject of an enforcement action by USDA. The USDA has rigorously inspected the PLRS facility on an annual basis, using trained, experienced USDA veterinarians. Since the company's founding, multiple veterinarians have been called upon to inspect and treat PLRS' animals. Sponsors who funded the tests also made regular visits, including veterinarians employed by these same sponsors, without any complaints of animal neglect such as those alleged by PETA.
The most recent USDA inspection report noted only minor "correctable findings" that are not uncommon to animal research facilities and, more importantly, do not reflect any type of animal abuse whatsoever. For context, nearly 50 percent of currently registered animal research facilities in North Carolina received correctable findings in their most recent USDA inspection reports, and each of these facilities, including PLRS, remains open today.
PLRS takes seriously its responsibility of caring for the welfare of all animals at its facility. As examples:
- The company has strict compliance policies and has well-established protocols for monitoring employee behavior and reporting any allegation of animal abuse of any kind.
- Comprehensive training programs are required of all PLRS animal technicians.
- Research protocols followed at PLRS reflect procedures consistent with those used at other facilities, which are routinely accepted and approved by multiple federal grant-making authorities. PLRS consultant Dr. Daniel Sonenshine stated: "PLRS tests products produced by pharmaceutical and pet products companies that protect pets and other animals from attack by ticks that transmit the agents of such human diseases as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other challenging illnesses. These tests are required by regulatory agencies in order for these companies to register their products and bring them to market."
- PLRS has an Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to approve and review all use of animals for research, as required by the Animal Welfare Act. The IACUC includes a veterinarian in its membership, as well as one or more members of the local community with no affiliation to the company.
The vast majority of the nation's scientific community recognizes the important role animals play in the advancement of disease research. "PETA's reckless anti-cure agenda puts human and animal health at serious risk," Dr. Larry Cruthers, Ph.D., continued. "PLRS will not allow PETA to misrepresent the company's work to test the safety and effectiveness of products being developed by the pharmaceutical and pet product industries to promote animal and human health."
SOURCE Professional Laboratory and Research Services