Davis Antibodies Facility Breaks Federal Law, Faces Heavy Fines Says Watchdog

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By Crescenzo Vellucci

A nearly 60-year-old Davis firm that provides antibodies for academic and industry scientists like those at University of California, Davis, has admitted breaking federal law when it negligently killed five animals, and now faces tens of thousands of dollars in fines, reported a national watchdog group this week.

Antibodies, Incorporated, founded in 1960 to “provide essential products for the growing immunology market,” according to its website, admitted to the deaths of at least five alpacas.

AI said a caretaker at the 40-acre facility poisoned the alpacas. Apparently, the caretaker dumped poisonous oleander cuttings in an area where the alpacas roamed.

AI has animal care units and laboratories and room for thousands of mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, goats, llamas and other animals.

The incident, however, caught the attention of Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN), an Ohio-based animal rights watchdog group that says it monitors U.S. research facilities for animal abuse and
illegal activities.

“This incident clearly demonstrates Antibodies Inc. considers animals nothing more than disposable objects to manufacture a product. Antibodies Inc.’s fatal negligence deserves the maximum penalty allowable under the Animal Welfare Act,” said Michael Budkie, executive director and co-founder of SAEN.

AI, which SAEN says faces federal fines of $10,000 per animal, provides antiserum production, immunochemistry and related services for the academic or industry research scientists.

AI admitted the deaths in its government report, stating: “Five alpacas died at our facility as a result of an accidental poisoning by oleander on the weekend of 14 – 16 July, 2017.”

But SAEN said AI isn’t alone. Other antibodies research facilities have also gotten into trouble with federal oversight agencies – in this case, the USDA.

According to SAEN, Santa Cruz Biotechnology surrendered its license two years ago after a series of animal deaths and huge fines. San Diego’s Pro Sci, one of the nation’s leading suppliers of antibodies, was called by SAEN the most “criminal” facility in the U.S. after it was cited for breaking federal law 15 times in less than a year.

SAEN said it has filed a complaint with the USDA against Antibodies, Inc., for violating federal laws, urging up to a $50,000 fine.

“Due to the serious and fatal nature of this incident, we’ve urged a heavy fine be levied against this bungling laboratory’s fatal negligence (that caused the) unnecessary and negligent deaths of five alpacas,” said Budkie.



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6 thoughts on “Davis Antibodies Facility Breaks Federal Law, Faces Heavy Fines Says Watchdog”

  1. John Hobbs

    Bedlam reigns. What a waste of the court’s time and resources. Stuff happens in any livestock endeavor, why assign nefarious motives to what amounts to an industrial accident?

    1. Howard P

      One might assign motive if they were a uber-disgruntled former employee, and finds a uber-sensitive forum to “whistle-blow”… much smoke, considering the self-reporting, not likely fire.

      Telling is the one case is used to broad-brush a sector.  Interesting.  Whatever.

  2. Leanna Sweha

    Apparently, the caretaker dumped poisonous oleander cuttings in an area where the alpacas roamed.

    The word “dumped” – is this from the findings? If not, looks like it was employed here to imply reckless intent or even an intentional act – which was not the case.   Agree with John’s comments above about motive.

  3. Don Shor

    Actually, ‘dumped’ is what we usually do with brush or prunings. Nothing particularly inflammatory about that verb.

    This, however, is over the top:

    “This incident clearly demonstrates Antibodies Inc. considers animals nothing more than disposable objects to manufacture a product. 

    There is no reason to believe this was anything other than a tragic mistake.

  4. PhilColeman

    Sometimes a deliberate and calculated “hit-piece” backfires. This shabby story is a prime example.

    Based on a solitary incident six months ago a research group is branded negligent. The local tag, and likely the only reason this was posted, was the research facility is based in Davis.

    The accusers constructed an especially poor story to defame this facility. They unwisely used facts and data about the facility that actually shows them to be exemplary and a contributor to the greater good of society.

    Re-read the story and ignore the deliberate bias, we find that a research facility has been existence for over 50 years. It supports research to finding  disease prevention through immunity. In other words, this facility helps protect and extend the lives of all living creatures including you, me, the accusers, and undoubtedly alpacas. Shame on them.

    Sometimes it is actually enjoyable hanging propaganda producers with their own rope. The author reports that “thousands of mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, goats, llamas and other animals” are housed and cared fore in this facility. In 50 years of existence five alpacas died due to a single act of negligence. You and I see more road-kill in a given week.

    This must be outstanding animal safety performance by Antibodies Incorporated as no other incident can be cited in an activity that is carefully monitored by multiple government agencies. The accusers can only imply, and they do, and a weak effort it was.

    We’re told that other research facilities have gotten into trouble and ONE facility in Santa Cruz is detailed for having numerous cases of negligence. It happened there, so it must be happening in Davis.

    However, we’re left with the conclusion that AI is takes superb care of its critters, otherwise this Alpaca-Watch Group would have published more examples. They’ve been watching, but not seeing anything.

    On this joyous Thanksgiving occasion, let all Davis residents give thanks to a responsible and responsive local medical research facility for the care of hundreds of thousands of animals over the past fifty years.

     

     

     

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