SANTA CRUZ -- Santa Cruz Biotechnology continued to violate animal welfare regulations even after a federal complaint was lodged against the company, records show.
An animal rights organization has written a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack prevailing upon him to take immediate action and to remove all of the animals at the Delaware Avenue facility in Santa Cruz.
"We consider this situation to literally be a matter of life and death for these animals," wrote Michael Budkie, executive director of Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now. "If no action is taken and animals continue to die, the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture will have a substantial share of the blame."
Santa Cruz Biotech has a history of violating the federal animal welfare act. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in July filed a 10-page complaint against the company, listing incidents stemming from inspections in July 2007 through May 2012. Those incidents included problems with the handling of animals, inadequate veterinary care, improper food and unqualified personnel.
No hearing date has been set in the matter, said USDA spokesman David Sacks. A previous date was vacated due to Superstorm Sandy.
As with all cases, "there is always the possibility of a settlement," Sacks said.
The agency's most recent inspection of Santa Cruz Biotech, dated Aug. 23, revealed two goats had died from inadequate veterinary care. Other goats were found to be suffering anemia, respiratory illness and other conditions, according to the inspection report.
The latest inspection won't have bearing on the current complaint because the complaint already had been issued, Sacks said.
Still, he said, this type of repeat violation is "certainly not what we're hoping for."
Santa Cruz Biotechnology also maintains offices in Paso Robles; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Heidelberg, Germany.
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