News

Genetic Testing for Non-human Primates

The Kanthaswamy DNA Laboratory (KDL) at Arizona State University in collaboration with Primate Products, Inc. (PPI) is pleased to announce our new Genetic Testing Program. Working with state of the art technology, including Next Generation Sequencing platforms, the following genetic testing services are now currently being offered:

ABO Blood Phenotyping

Knowledge of the ABO blood type is used for metabolism studies and stem cell research as well as for recipient matching in blood transfusion and tissue/organ transplantation studies.

Kinship

Primate breeders today have a limited male to female ratio. Juvenile growing groups are usually formed from related cohorts. Including related animals in a trial can bias the study’s results. This test estimates the relatedness/kinship between any one animal and any number of other animals. This is particularly of interest for multiple or specific import groups coming from one breeder. This test compares any single animal to all other animals in an import group multiple import groups of animals up to first cousin, or 1/8 relatedness.

Regional Origin and Ancestry

Animals of different ancestry and geographic regions can have genetic differences. These differences can cause varying responses to experimental factors and can confound study results. This test determines the geographic origin of the animals in question.

Hybridization

Animals may have admixed ancestry because they were derived from hybrid zones. For example, rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomogus macaques (M. fascicularis) individuals originating from Indochina may exhibit varying degrees of rhesus and cynomolgus heritage because of hybridization between these species. Our test estimates the percentage of genome that is attributable to each species.

TRIAL ENDS IN FAVOR OF HENDRY COUNTY PAVING THE WAY FOR PRIMATE BREEDING FACILITIES

By Thomas J. Rowell

hendryOn July, 8th, 2016, Circuit Court Judge James D. Sloan released his ruling that there was no violation of the Florida Sunshine Law and found for the defendant, Hendry County, in an action lawsuit, which was filed in November of 2013 and amended in May of 2015.  Neighbors of a newly proposed facility on the Lee County border brought a lawsuit against the county alleging that because it never held hearings or told them about a primate facility being built in their neighborhood the county violated Florida’s Sunshine Law.

In November of 2013, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), on behalf of three Hendry County residents filed a lawsuit against Hendry County alleging Hendry County violated Florida Statutes 286.011(1) commonly referred to as the Florida Sunshine Law.  In their complaint they stated that a new nonhuman primate facility, which is proposed to be located in the northeast section of the County would “confine, quarantine, and breed thousands of wild and imported non-human primates (macaques) in a rural residential neighborhood”.   They further stated that “unlike domestic livestock, non-human primates are known carriers of a wide array of serious infectious diseases such as Ebola, Herpes B, tuberculosis, and parasites that may be transmitted to humans” in their complaint.  They sought to declare that Hendry County’s approval of the new facilities was void because it was not considered at a public hearing after adequate public notice, to have the courts issue an injunction mandating Hendry County to rescind its approval of the new facility permits, and to issue an injunction prohibiting Hendry County from approving future wild nonhuman primate facilities in general agriculture zoning without first conducting a public hearing.

In May of 2015, the lawsuit was expanded to include a second company which entered into a contract with Primate Products Inc. (PPI) and resides on property owned by Panther Tracks LLC, which is also home for the PPI operation that has been in business for over 15 years at that location.  None of the three residents for which the suit had been filed on behalf of lived in close proximity of Panther Tracks (they were over 30 miles away in the far northeast section of the county) and one of the three residents had only purchased property in July of 2013, after building permits had been issued for the expansion at Panther Tracks LLC.

Judge Sloan considered the following two points in his ruling:

  • Did actions taken by Hendry County violate the Florida Sunshine Law?
  • If not, had Hendry County violated the purpose and intent of the Sunshine Law by assigning or abdicating policy making function to staff?

In his legal reasoning he stated that no county commissioner, either alone or in tandem with any other commissioner attended any meetings, consulted or communicated with each other, or with either the new facility or Panther Tracks during any portion of the process approving either site development plans; therefore, nobody had engaged in a policy-making function, which may have required public meetings.

In the ruling both parties had to concede that there was no definition for “animal husbandry” specifically set forth in Hendry County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan nor in its Zoning Code; however, given the historical application as it was applied to other site development plans of a similar nature such intent could be concluded.  In addition, it was presented as evidence that in April of 2000 raising of monkeys was specifically authorized in writing in agriculture 2 zones by the late Eason Burchard, the Director of Hendry County Building and Zoning.  As noted in the ruling and presented as testimony in the trial, Hendry County has in the past permitted buffalo, turtles, alligators, tilapia and ostriches in agriculture zones.

Primate Products Inc. is pleased with Judge Sloan’s ruling and is appreciative of the work performed by Hendry County staff.  Although PPI has encountered no problems in over 15 years with property owners who live and work adjacent to their site, the conflict between residential developments located within agricultural zones is not new. When an animal operation is in close proximity to residential development, complaints and problems can occur. We reiterate that there is no better place to find the knowledge of support agencies, mindset of workers, and community understanding of farming and livestock production and maintenance than in Hendry County Florida.  They have demonstrated once again that they stand by the agricultural life style and the rights provided to property owners as stated in their comprehensive plan and land development code.

Judge Sloan’s Ruling

Zika Virus PPI Press Release

MEMORANDUM

 

To:      Media Contacts

From:  Thomas J. Rowell DVM, President/COO

Date:    12 February 2016

Re:       Zika Virus

Recently the World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern” over the Zika virus and the health problems that doctors fear it’s causing. The agency said the emergency is warranted because of how fast the mosquito-borne virus is spreading and its suspected link to babies born with birth defects.

The Florida health department has identified 18 Zika virus cases statewide, all which have been related to travel.  Florida health officials have yet to identify a single case related to vector (mosquito) transmission.

As a result of reports that the vertebrate hosts of the virus is monkeys, with an enzootic mosquito- monkey-mosquito cycle, questions have arisen regarding the housing and importation of non-human primates and the potential exposure risk to the public.

Primates imported into the United States undergo a mandatory 31-day quarantine after importation. This quarantine is done in an enclosed building or in a screened enclosure that keeps the animals away from mosquitoes. People working with the imported primates must wear personal protective equipment that includes coveralls, eye protection, and respiratory protection. Based on the research available, any animal that enters quarantine with a Zika virus infection or is exposed to Zika virus should have cleared the infection by the end of the quarantine period. Therefore, there should be no risk of infecting local mosquito populations from imported animals.

It is also important to note that if Zika virus was spreading in people in areas where primates are housed outdoors, the animals could be infected with the virus. In this case organizations with outdoor housing would work with state and local authorities to develop a mosquito surveillance and management program at the facility to prevent the possible spread of Zika virus.

Research utilizing primates and other animal models will be necessary for defining and understanding the pathogenesis of the virus, for establishing better diagnostics for detecting infection, and in vaccine development for disease prevention.  Primate Products Inc. will continue to provide critical resources that contributes to this and other research aimed at improving upon human health.

Update from Primate Products, Inc.

By Thomas J. Rowell

In recent months, the media has been focused on two events surrounding Primate Products Inc. (PPI) operation in Southwest Florida, which were both initiated by animal activists.  A recent article in Bloomberg Business Week does an excellent job in providing an overview (Bloomberg).  More specifically, one event involved a Hendry County investigation into zoning issues as it relates to land use. The second event was an investigation by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which was initiated as the result of an activist plant who was hired as an animal caretaker in September of 2014.

Hendry County initiated an investigation (Complaint No 14-0240) in March of 2015 of possible violations of the Land Development Codes at PPI and another primate facility located within the county.  Specifically there were concerns regarding PPI using land inconsistent with current zoning.  PPI responded to the complaint in April of 2015 (Response to complaint).  In addition a site visit was performed by the County in May.

On August 19, 2015 the County officially finalized their investigation. They concluded, based on observations made at the site inspection and information obtained by regulatory authorities and others, that the activities occurring on the property occupied by PPI were in compliance with Hendry County’s land use regulations (PR – Hendry County Concludes Investigations).

Primate Products Inc. is appreciative of the work performed by Hendry County staff.  We reiterate that there is no better place to find the knowledge of support agencies, mindset of workers, and community understanding of farming and livestock production and maintenance than in Hendry County Florida.

The investigation started by OLAW in June of 2015, which was initiated as the result of an activist plant hired as an animal caretaker, who spent 8 months on site covertly obtaining video and pictures of the operation, has recently come to an end (OLAW Report). OLAW, working with PPI’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and staff, were able to identify strengths and at the same time uncovered some weaknesses in the animal welfare program, which were corrected.

Over a period of several weeks, PPI and OLAW maintained an open dialog regarding PPI’s animal welfare program, which culminated into a joint site visit by OLAW and the USDA in August of 2015.  As a result of the visit and the ongoing dialog, OLAW concluded the following: “Based on its assessment of PPl’s corrective actions, review of the supporting documents, and the information gathered during the site visit, OLAW found PPI fully compliant with the provisions of the PHS Policy and the Guide.”

The results of the USDA investigation are still pending.  PPI is appreciative of the time and effort that OLAW staff put into the process, and feel that this experience has resulted in a much stronger animal welfare program.

 

Donald A. Bradford, We Wish You Well!

don_bradford

It is always bittersweet when a friend and colleague reaches retirement.  On one hand, you are sad that what was, will not be, going forward.  On the other, you are happy and excited for your friend who will be starting a new chapter with perhaps a new adventure or two with their remaining years.  It has been my sincere honor and very great pleasure to have spent the last 23 years working with Don here at Primate Products and although as a family member we know he will never be very far away, beginning June 1st, Don will begin his long postponed retirement.  Postponed I might add primarily by myself pleading with him to finish just one more project, show, situation or whatever fire needed immediate attention over the last several years.

I am including a copy of part of the nomination letter for Don’s Garvey Award which he received in 2011.  Although lengthy I think it is a fitting tribute to a life dedicated to the improvement and advancement or our industry. We all wish him the very best of luck and success in whatever lies ahead.

Sincerely,

Paul W. Houghton

1969 – 1974    UCLA- Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, CA

Don rose through the ranks to eventually become the General Supervisor.  He became active in the Southern California Branch of AALAS serving on its Board of Trustees and on its Technician Training Committee working with Bob Watkins.  His work performance, contributions and leadership in training efforts were recognized by the branch when it honored Don with its “Outstanding Technician Award” in 1971.  Until his departure in late 1974, Don oversaw extensive renovation of the facilities and planning for new facilities at Harbor General and laid the ground work for the eventual AAALAC accreditation of the program.

1975 – 1988    University of Iowa’s Animal Care Unit (ACU) in Iowa City, IA

Don began as the Husbandry Section Head for the Bowen Science Building.  Don rapidly assumed greater responsibilities and became the Coordinator of Animal Husbandry in 1977.  Together with the Director and University Veterinarian, Dr. Paul Cooper, went on to lay out the complete rebuilding of the facilities and programs.  Again, the foundation of the rebuilding was the training of the husbandry and veterinary technical staffs.  An interesting side note regarding the training program that Don put in place is that the institution did not recognize the need for nor did it provide facilities for such a program.  So Don conducted “brown bag lunches” in the washroom of the Bowen Science Building, with the staff volunteering to eat their lunch right where the cages were washed. In just two short years, those training efforts resulted in the program going from a situation of having only one (Don) staff member (of 30 people) certified at any level to having over half the staff certified at the Technologist level and all but two certified at other levels.

Throughout his tenure at the University of Iowa, Don was active in both the Iowa Branch of AALAS and national AALAS.  He served on the AALAS Board of Trustees representing District VI, serving on the AALAS Animal Technician Certification Board (ATCB), presented workshops on a variety of topics ranging from Cost Accounting in Laboratory Facilities, to the Dynamics of Group Motivation, he presented numerous papers at the local, district and national AALAS meetings, presented workshops at the local community college, consulted to the local animal shelter and to a local company manufacturing animal housing systems and served on the AALAS ATCB. He was honored by the Iowa Branch AALAS with its “Outstanding Supervisor” award in 1979 and its highest honor the “Dr. Ronald E. Flatt Memorial Award” in 1988.  He also obtained his BBA/MIS degree from the University of Iowa in 1988.

1988- 1992      University of Miami, Division of Veterinary Resources, Miami, FL

Don moved on to the University of Miami in December 1988 where he assumed the position of Assistant to the Director.  His efforts in training of others continued there and within the Florida Branch of AALAS, where he served on the board of Trustees for 8 years.  The training program at the UM became the favored training program of the VA system in Miami, Childrens Hospital in Miami and Baxter, Inc. in Miami, with attendees coming from all over south Florida to obtain their certification through the program lead by Don.

1992 – Present Primate Products, Inc.  (PPI) Immokalee, FL

Don began his career on the commercial side of the laboratory animal science industry when he began his own company (RepOne) providing sales representation for up to 11 different vendors serving the biomedical research community.  One of those companies was Primate Products, Inc. (PPI).

Don joined PPI full time as the Director of PPI’s proposed Live Animal Division, which began business in late 1994.  As the Director, Don established the SOPs, again wore his training hat overseeing the training program of PPI’s husbandry and veterinary technical staffs.  He developed the software system used by PPI until the summer of 2010 and co-developed its replacement (ENOS) which is now commercially available.  He continued his service to national AALAS serving on the Distance Learning Committee and the Exhibitor Advisory Council.  He served the commercial members of AALAS serving on several committees and as the ATA President in 2007 and 2008.  He also has continued to present papers and participate in roundtable platforms at district and national meetings of AALAS and LAMA.

One of Don’s most important contributions to the research community is his role in helping PPI develop its Panther tracks Learning Center and the conducting of (Primadaption) workshops, which center on the development of improved and successful programs of providing enrichment and care to captive nonhuman primates.  These workshops are open to the biomedical research community and are attended by personnel ranging from veterinarians, veterinary and husbandry technicians, investigators, supervisory and behavioral staff. This program has received excellent reviews from its attendees.

Don’s leadership at PPI has contributed to our continuing growth in business and our continuing dedication to our corporate mission to provide products, services and training to enhance the conservation and care of nonhuman primates.

Primate Products and GML Reach Strategic Agreement

Primate Products and GML Reach Strategic Agreement
Immokalee, FL – Aug. 2011

As its first step into the global preclinical research and life sciences industries, Groupe Mon Loisir (GML), through its subsidiary Cynologics, Ltd., has reached a strategic agreement with Primate Products, Inc. (PPI). “The agreement brings an entirely new environment for the delivery of research support services to pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations” said Gérald de Senneville, CEO of Cynologics, in a joint statement with the CEO of GML, Arnaud Lagesse, when the agreement was reached.

“Our clients will enjoy complete control over their animal model development, supply and use. Each client will have a personal, direct relationship with each phase involved and be able to structure the program to accommodate their comfort with risk and best suit their specific needs” added Paul Houghton, CEO of PPI.

Both companies have been aggressively expanding their capabilities in anticipation of the
strategic agreement. In addition to expanding its holding and breeding capabilities, PPI has added staffing to increase surgical model development, human and animal training capabilities and expanded support services. Cynologics, in Mauritius, has purchased an existing breeding facility and is currently building a new facility on separate locations as well as increasing stock availability for export. Together, the two companies are exploring the development of a reproductive toxicology center to be located at PPI’s Panther Tracks Learning Center Campus located near Naples, FL. The center will feature EU compliant housing systems and a radically different approach to the constitution of study groups of animals in a manner that will reduce costs for clients while speeding up the study process.