Bristol-Myers Squibb Fined for Federal Violations, Including Boiling a Monkey Alive

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Bristol-Myers Squibb was recently fined in the deaths of two monkeys in their expansive facility on the border of the Hub City and North Brunswick.

The pharmaceutical company was fined $2,625 for the deaths and two other violations in 2010 regarding expired drug treatments in an emergency medical kit and storage of food according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The penalty was issued in February but was made public May 17 of this year.

The USDA fined Bristol-Myers Squibb for violating the Animal Welfare Act after the death of the two monkeys in their laboratories. The fine was disclosed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who filed a complaint back in January 2012 after an informer provided information about the lab conditions.

The two deaths had previously been reported to happen within months of each other. In July of 2011, one of the monkeys, a crab-eating macaque being held at a lab in Pennington, was scalded to death after being locked in its case that was being washed. The monkey was likely boiled alive after remaining locked inside its cage when it was moved into the washroom and submerged in near-boiling water, according to a USDA report.

The second death occurred in December of 2011 in the company’s New Brunswick lab.  The macaque was left unattended while restrained during a medical procedure. The cause of death was not known, according to the USDA.

Shortly after the deaths, the company vowed to punish the employees involved and revised procedures for handling and caring for lab animals, the company and the USDA said.

PETA expressed satisfaction that Bristol-Myers Squibb was cited for violating federal rules regarding animal welfare, but the advocacy group feels the amount of the fine is pocket change to the multi-national pharmaceutical company. The company reported $17.6 billion in sales in 2012, according to its website.