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Suit claims animal cruelty by biotech firm

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) -- An animal rights group is suing a Santa Cruz biotechnology company that has already been cited by federal regulators for a long list of animal welfare violations.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed the lawsuit Thursday against Santa Cruz Biotech, Inc., a biochemical research company that makes animal health care products.

The suit claims the firm illegally mistreated animals, including 10,000 goats and 5,000 rabbits, to reduce production costs in violation of California's unfair business competition and animal cruelty laws.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's complaint against the firm listed animal welfare violations stemming back to 2007.

The group says USDA's complaint failed to stop the cruelty, so it filed suit in an attempt to get a state judge to intervene.

Santa Cruz Biotech said it disagrees with the allegations and complies with animal welfare laws.

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