Southwest National Primate Research Center Releases 2017 USDA Inspection Report Findings
In February 2017, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC) completed its regular, annual inspection by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in which USDA veterinary inspectors review all areas of animal care and treatment. The USDA reports comprise information on activities requiring corrective action.
During the inspection, USDA complimented SNPRC’s animal care team on its dedication to animal welfare. The inspectors also lauded the Institute’s Animal Care and Use Committee for its administrative organization. The IACUC is comprised of scientists and laypersons from the community who evaluate and approve research projects involving animals. Additionally, USDA commended Texas Biomed’s Board of Trustees for recently approving a multi-million dollar infrastructure investment to enhance animal facilities at SNPRC.
“We appreciate the USDA’s acknowledgement of the hard work our team puts in, as well as the close inspection of our facilities,” said Dr. Robert Lanford, Director of SNPRC. “Maintaining an exceptional animal care program is always our primary goal, which is why we work closely with USDA and other regulatory agencies.”
The February inspection report includes two housing concerns, both of which are being addressed and remediation began prior to inspection.
Housing Facilities – heating system malfunction
In January, a male baboon was treated by the veterinary staff after a heating unit duct meant for the baboons to keep warm caused an accidental injury. The animal sustained burns to the pads of its hands and feet but was cared for quickly and has no other long-term injuries associated with this incident. No other animal sustained injury and use of the heating unit was immediately discontinued. Modification prototypes were in place at the time of the USDA inspection. Because the system is currently not needed, SNPRC has hired an engineering team to redesign the unit in the next few months to ensure both safety and efficacy during use in colder months.
Housing Facilities – maintenance of capuchin facility
The USDA noted that some repainting and resurfacing of the housing facility for capuchin monkeys are needed. That work has been completed and is part of the infrastructure investments the Board approved earlier this year to enhance animal housing facilities across campus.
“Any time USDA notes an issue requiring corrective action, we take immediate steps to remedy the issue and often have already begun corrective action,” said Dr. John Bernal, attending veterinarian and Associate Director of Veterinary Resources and Research Support. “We take seriously our responsibility to excellent animal care. These animals enable scientists worldwide to conduct studies that make possible breakthrough discoveries of causes, preventions, treatments and cures of disease.”