Animal rights groups are calling for stiff fines for Bristol-Myers Squibb after a monkey was accidentally killed in the pharmaceutical company’s Pennington, N.J., lab.
The company has confirmed that the monkey, accidentally left locked in a cage, died as the cage was cleaned with scalding water in a washer.
PETA’s Kathy Guillermo said the mistake reflects what the group sees as the inherent problem with animal testing.
“People stop seeing these animals as alive. They get careless, they’re hurrying through their work,” Guillermo said. “Who knows what goes through the mind of someone who’s charged with putting these cages through a washer?”
Bristol-Myers Squibb spokeswoman Jennifer Fron-Mauer said the company immediately reported the incident to the USDA and launched an internal investigation.
“We have strict policies and procedures regarding the safe and compassionate handling of animals in our care,” Fron-Mauer said. “When these policies and procedures are not followed, disciplinary action is taken.”
She would not detail the results of the investigation, or the nature of the disciplinary action.
The accident happened over the summer and was just revealed in a government report.
PETA is calling on the government to investigate other animal maltreatment claims at the same site brought to it by a whistle-blower.