by Lisa Sorg
In two of the past four years, UNC's Resource Research Facility, also known as "The Farm," has been cited by the federal government for failing to provide adequate socialization for three squirrel monkeys, failing to provide enough drinking water for rabbits and for failing to remove dead hamsters from cages. The violations occurred in 2005 and 2007; they were corrected.
The Farm is a holding facility in rural Orange County for animals undergoing experiments on UNC's Main Campus or at its Francis Owen Blood Research Lab in Carrboro. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service conducts annual inspections of animal research facilities to ensure they comply with federal standards of humane care and treatment of animals. The reports are here (.pdf, 700k): usdainspectionreports
In a Jan. 29, 2007 inspection, a federal veterinary medical officer noted that "three dead hamsters were found in three separate cages in one cubicle. Conditions of the bodies indicated they had been dead for some time."
A Dec. 14, 2005 inspection noted that "current enrichment plan for three squirrel monkeys is not being completely followed." At least one squirrel monkey was alone in a cage and its toys were not being properly changed. "The toys don't seem to interest the primates much at this time," the report reads.
A July 19, 2005 report showed that rabbits undergoing tests were not give enough water, sometimes going for as long as a week with only a quarter of an apple for moisture. "Records indicated that new rabbits and occasionally trained rabbits received very little or no water during test sessions due to their poor task performance," the report reads.