The Humane Society of the United States says an undercover lab assistant videotaped "the wretched existence of chimpanzees and other primates" at the nation's largest primate lab in New Iberia, and found gross failures of federal oversight.

Representatives of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the U.S. Department of Agriculture could not be immediately reached for comment about the Humane Society's allegations about the New Iberia Research Center.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle said the group went to the New Iberia lab because it is the largest of hundreds of primate labs and nine where chimpanzees are used for research.

He said it sent a 108-page list of more than 300 individual complaints to USDA.

Video shown at Wednesday's news conference showed animals slamming themselves from wall to wall of small, barren cages; struggling as they are carried out on sticks with neck-rings; and even biting themselves.