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Deaths of Harvard lab animals stir criticism

Repeat problem brings rare disclosure

The death of a cotton-top tamarin monkey at a Harvard Medical School facility on Sunday has cast an intense spotlight on a controversial area of biomedical research that has contributed to major advances but also aroused suspicion because of the secrecy that generally surrounds the operations of primate research facilities.

It was the fourth monkey death at the New England Primate Research Center in less than two years, and animal rights groups condemned the apparent carelessness that led to it. An elderly monkey was euthanized after being found in poor condition and lacking a water bottle in its cage. The groups called on federal regulators to take decisive and severe enforcement actions.

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