Citation issued for self-reported marmoset incident; inspection finds no additional noncompliant items

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors conducted a routine inspection of Princeton University's laboratory animal program May 4-5 and issued a single citation for a failure to secure a primary enclosure.

The inspection, which came after the University's self-report of an incident late last year in which two marmosets briefly escaped their cages, did not find any additional noncompliant items. The USDA is expected to release a report later this month.

The citation involved an incident in Dec. 2014 in which two marmosets living in a family unit were found outside their cage, though still inside the room where they are housed. One was recaptured without incident but the second fought with a marmoset in another cage, and both sustained injuries. Both animals received immediate medical attention and recovered without complications. The University promptly reported the incident to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare as required by federal policy.

After an internal investigation, the University revised procedures to facilitate observation of secure cages, performed additional training of staff and research personnel and committed funds to purchase caging with a more secure design.  The USDA noted that these items had already been corrected at the time the inspection was performed.

Princeton’s laboratory animal research program contributes significantly to advancing the frontiers of knowledge and to saving and prolonging the lives of human beings (and animals). It does so while upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance and of humane and responsible treatment of animals. Animals are used in research only when no alternatives exist to address specific scientific questions.