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Lab Settles Animal Welfare Charges

April 16, 1998

EAST MILLSTONE, N.J. (AP) _ A research lab once targeted for criticism by actress Kim Basinger agreed to pay $50,000 to settle federal charges that it violated the Animal Welfare Act.

Huntingdon Life Sciences Inc. did not admit any wrongdoing under the settlement reached earlier this month. But it agreed to comply with the law, give $20,000 to a nonprofit group promoting lab tests that don’t use animals, and spend $20,000 to improve its monkeys’ living conditions.

The remaining $10,000 will be paid to the federal government.

Huntingdon came under fire last summer, when Ms. Basinger learned the lab planned to break the legs of beagles to test an osteoporosis drug. Ms. Basinger asked Huntingdon to turn the dogs over to her, but the lab decided to give 40 beagles to shelters for adoption.

The settlement came after the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed 23 charges against the lab, alleging lapses such as lax record-keeping and failure to provide adequate veterinary care. The charges stemmed from violations documented by Agriculture Department workers during surprise inspections last year.

Huntingdon President Alan Staple issued a statement criticizing the Agriculture Department, saying it didn’t give the company a chance to review the agency’s evidence and announced the charges while settlement talks were continuing.

``I am unable to explain why they issued a press release without any warning, and while at the same time we were actively discussing a settlement they had proposed,″ he said.

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