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A federal inspector cited the University of Washington for the deaths of three young research monkeys that were attacked by older males.

An inspection report dated Nov. 5 says the university should have taken action after the first incident, on May 2, to ensure no other infants were harmed.

“It is common for males, including male primates, to attack and kill young offspring of their species (known as infanticide.),” the report says. “Knowing this behavior … it is the veterinarian’s and the facility’s responsibility to prevent this behavior and any subsequent injuries.”

In the first incident, a 1-month-old pigtailed macaque was attacked within 15 to 20 minutes of being introduced to a new breeding group along with its mother. The infant was injured so severely it had to be euthanized.

The second attack occurred May 30, when a 6-month-old male was injured. The young animal died of its wounds.

After that incident, the report says, all adult males were temporarily removed from breeding groups. But one of those males was able to attack a 9-month-old female through the mesh that separated their enclosures. The female was euthanized.

No fine has yet been assessed against the UW, which manages one of the nation’s largest research primate collections.

In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the animal-rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now pointed out that allowable fines range up to $10,000 per infraction.

Sandi Doughton at: 206-464-2491 or sdoughton@seattletimes.com