Skip to content

US Department of Agriculture issues warning to Rutgers after monkey escapes enclosure

In November 2022, a male rhesus monkey escaped its enclosure at a Rutgers laboratory. – Photo by Richard Saunders / Unsplash

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a violation to Rutgers for mishandling a primate, which was being kept in a Piscataway research facility, according to an article from NJ Advance Media.

In November 2022, a male rhesus monkey escaped its cage inside the research facility after an animal care operator failed to fully close the enclosure.

After leaving its enclosure, the animal reached into another monkey’s cage and bit its arm, causing a gash. Eventually, the escaped monkey was returned to its cage, and veterinarians tended to the other injured monkey, according to the article.

A University spokesperson said this is the first time that there has been an issue with either rhesus monkey in the 10 years that they have been under Rutgers' supervision.

Alka Chandna, the vice president of laboratory investigations and regulatory testing for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that while this incident was a significant issue, the University only received "a slap on the wrist" for its part in it.

"Thankfully, no one was injured," Chandna said in the article. "Not only is it important to maintain safeguards on the cages in order to keep the monkeys safe, but also it’s a threat to public health because so many things could go wrong."

The Piscataway laboratory resolved the issue before the USDA’s January 2023 examination of the facility by instituting two additional mechanisms and a lock on the enclosure, according to the article.

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe