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Mayo Clinic cited for burning monkey during research

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic for burning a laboratory monkey during research. Mayo officials voluntarily reported the incident to federal authorities shortly after it happened in January, according to an inspection report.

According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin a rhesus macaque, like the one shown above, was burned by an overheated fluid bag used for thermal support. The monkey was anesthetized at the time and has fully recovered, the paper says. It reportedly showed signs of behavioral stress after the incident as the burns on its legs were healing.

The USDA actually commended the clinic for its care of the monkey after the incident, the Post-Bulletin says.

According to its report, the USDA cited Mayo in violation of the "miscellaneous" section of the Animal Welfare Act. The act (which can be seen here) says animal handling must be done "in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort."

In a statement to ABC 6, Mayo officials said "personnel underwent re-training and Mayo assigned a permanent veterinary research technician to the research program involved."

But not everyone is happy with the outcome. The animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed a complaint with the USDA over the incident and is asking that Mayo receive the maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine, KSTP reports. It's unclear if the USDA plans to take any further action.

In its report, the USDA examined a total of 448 animals at Mayo Clinic during their Aug. 12 visit, including cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, goats, sheep, pigs, and baboons. This was the only citation for Mayo listed in the previous two years of inspection reports available from the USDA.

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