USDA Inspection Confirms High Standards of Animal Treatment at ORPRC

04/25/01    Portland, Ore.

USDA letter is latest in a series commending research facility's animal care

Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center to be in full compliance with the Animal Welfare Act during a recent four-day inspection. In a letter received by OHSU on Tuesday, the USDA stated that it found no items of non-compliance. The letter follows the second exhaustive on-site review by the USDA since October in which veterinarian inspectors scrutinized every aspect of the center's animal care program and facilities.

"This latest review reaffirms our success in providing humane and ethical care and treatment for our animal research partners," said Art Hall, D.V.M., a veterinarian that oversees animal care at OHSU.

Inspectors found only one minor deficiency during the recent visit -- a loose door hinge, which was fixed on the spot.

The USDA letter requested that the center keep the agency up to date on construction and plans to move more individually caged monkeys to group and pair-cage housing. The center is developing progressive solutions for social housing of nonhuman primates that enhance the living environment well beyond what's currently required by federal regulations. More than 2,800 primates live at the Hillsboro facility.

Since 1996 the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center has received grants totaling $1.6 million for group housing and paired caging of primates. In addition, the facility currently is constructing 20 outdoor sheltered housing units that will house monkeys in social groups. The $4 million project should be completed this summer.

The OHSU Department of Comparative Medicine, which oversees the well-being of animals used for medical research, is accredited with the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC). This is a significant accomplishment as less than half of institutions using animals achieve such a high level of humane care and use assurance.

OHSU has maintained AAALAC accreditation since 1966 and has letters of assurance of compliance on file with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in its Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.