RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Animals rights group PETA has criticized Burlington-based Labcorp following the death of four monkeys used in research. The group wants Labcorp to shut down its animal labs and called the federal fine in the case “paltry.”

Labcorp is one of the world’s largest life science research and development companies.

Responding to an inquiry from WRAL TechWire, Labcorp issued a statement that did not directly address the incident cited by PETA:

“Labcorp takes our ethical and regulatory responsibilities very seriously. We treat research animals with the greatest care and respect, and we are dedicated to complying with all applicable regulatory and compliance guidelines.  Labcorp firmly believes the proper care of all research animals is fundamental to ethical scientific research and the ability to develop safe and effective new medicines that save lives.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized Labcorp after the company was fined $9,000 for the incidents which occurred at a Labcorp facility in New Jersey. In all, five violations of the federal Animals Welfare Act were cited, PETA noted.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s anemic fine of $9,000 levied against Labcorp is a pittance for the agony animals endured at the hands of incompetent staffers, leading to the deaths of four macaque monkeys. Labcorp is clearly unable or unwilling to uphold even the most basic standards of animal care, and its animal labs, such as its facility in Somerset, should be shut down permanently,” PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel said in a statement.

“Between May 2019 and February 2022, Labcorp staffers broke the bones of five monkeys because they didn’t handle them properly. Three of those monkeys died as a result of the injuries. A sixth monkey, at Labcorp’s Somerset facility, slowly wasted away for months while staffers did nothing to report the illness to a veterinarian. That monkey was killed, according to the USDA report.”

PETA called for Labcorp to “modernize its laboratories; replace cruel, archaic experiments on animals with sophisticated, human-relevant research methods.”