The University of Washington confirms it was fined $10,893 this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a primate died during laboratory research in 2009.

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The University of Washington confirms it was fined $10,893 this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a primate died during laboratory research in 2009.

The fine was uncovered by the group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, which filed a federal records request of the UW’s primate research practices.

Michael Budkie, a spokesman for the group, said the reports show that three primates under the UW’s care died — one from starvation, and two from infections of head implants. But UW spokeswoman Tina Mankowski said she knew of only one primate death, in 2009, which was reported to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Animal Welfare.

Budkie said between five and 10 research labs are fined each year. “The fact that they take any kind of enforcement action at all is unusual,” he said.

The animal-rights group estimates that there are 125,000 primates kept in U.S. laboratories, and the NIH awards grants of about $1.5 billion a year for labs to use primates in research.

In 2008, the UW had to return $20,000 in federal research grant money after a finding that it had allowed unauthorized surgeries onprimates. Inspectors found serious deficiencies in animal-care facilities in 2006 and put the UW on probation.

Since then, however, the UW has spent millions to upgrade animal-care facilities and is now fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.