B-174808, JUN 7, 1972

B-174808: Jun 7, 1972

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THE PROTEST IS DENIED SINCE THE NECESSITY OF THE REVISED SPECIFICATION IS REASONABLY BASED UPON ADEQUATE SUPPORTING DATA. TO ANTEC CORPORATION: THIS IS IN REFERENCE TO YOUR LETTERS OF FEBRUARY 23. THAT THE SOLICITATION WAS CANCELLED AFTER BID OPENING WHEN. THE AIR FORCE DECIDED THAT THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS WERE TOO LAX TO INSURE OBTAINING ANIMALS SUITABLE FOR THE LONG TERM TOXICOLOGY STUDIES TO BE CONDUCTED BY THE AEROSPACE MEDICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY (AMRL). THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCLUDED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE DEFECTIVE AND CANCELLED THE SOLICITATION. THE SUBJECT SOLICITATION WAS ISSUED SPECIFYING INCREASED STANDARDS TO BE MET BY BIDDERS FOR ANIMAL CARE AND HOUSING. WHICH YOU FEEL YOU ARE UNABLE TO MEET AND WHICH YOU HAVE DESCRIBED AS BEING "HIGHLY ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS AND INCONSISTENT WITH PRACTICES NORMALLY FOLLOWED BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN THE PURCHASE OF DOGS.".

B-174808, JUN 7, 1972

BID PROTEST - REASONABLENESS OF REVISED SPECIFICATION DECISION DENYING THE PROTEST OF ANTEC CORPORATION AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER AN IFB ISSUED AT WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OHIO, FOR 20 PUREBRED PEDIGREED BEAGLE DOGS. THE PROTEST IS DENIED SINCE THE NECESSITY OF THE REVISED SPECIFICATION IS REASONABLY BASED UPON ADEQUATE SUPPORTING DATA.

TO ANTEC CORPORATION:

THIS IS IN REFERENCE TO YOUR LETTERS OF FEBRUARY 23, MARCH 6, AND APRIL 27, 1972, AND ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER IFB F33615-72-B-0028, ISSUED AT WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO.

THE SOLICITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR 200 PUREBRED PEDIGREED BEAGLE DOGS, AS SPECIFIED, AND STATES THAT THE GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO USE THE DOGS AS SUBJECTS IN LONG TERM TOXICOLOGY STUDIES. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU SUBMITTED THE LOW RESPONSIVE BID ON A PREVIOUS SOLICITATION WHICH SOUGHT TO SATISFY THE GOVERNMENT'S NEED FOR THESE DOGS, AND THAT THE SOLICITATION WAS CANCELLED AFTER BID OPENING WHEN, UPON A SURVEY OF YOUR FACILITIES, THE AIR FORCE DECIDED THAT THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS WERE TOO LAX TO INSURE OBTAINING ANIMALS SUITABLE FOR THE LONG TERM TOXICOLOGY STUDIES TO BE CONDUCTED BY THE AEROSPACE MEDICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY (AMRL). ACCORDINGLY, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCLUDED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE DEFECTIVE AND CANCELLED THE SOLICITATION. THEREAFTER, THE SUBJECT SOLICITATION WAS ISSUED SPECIFYING INCREASED STANDARDS TO BE MET BY BIDDERS FOR ANIMAL CARE AND HOUSING.

WHILE YOU HAD PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED A LOW BID OF $70 FOR EACH BEAGLE DOG, YOU DECLINED TO BID ON THE REVISED SPECIFICATIONS, WHICH YOU FEEL YOU ARE UNABLE TO MEET AND WHICH YOU HAVE DESCRIBED AS BEING "HIGHLY ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS AND INCONSISTENT WITH PRACTICES NORMALLY FOLLOWED BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN THE PURCHASE OF DOGS." IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 27, YOU INDICATE THAT THE SINGLE ESSENTIAL ISSUE IS THE REASONABLENESS OF THE REVISED SPECIFICATION THAT THE DOG SHELTER BE SO DESIGNED THAT BODY HEAT IS CONSERVED RATHER THAN DISSIPATED, WHICH IS BEING CONSTRUED AS PRECLUDING THE USE OF METAL DRUM HOUSING. UNLESS THIS REQUIREMENT CAN BE CONSIDERED REASONABLE, YOU CONTEND THAT THE LOW BID OF $73.90 ON THE RESOLICITATION SHOULD BE REJECTED AND THAT THE AIR FORCE BE REQUIRED TO ACCEPT YOUR LOW BID ON THE FIRST SOLICITATION.

AT THE OUTSET IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT WHILE IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE HIGHER STANDARDS REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT WERE NOT SPECIFIED IN THE FIRST SOLICITATION, AS A GENERAL RULE, AN INADEQUATE SPECIFICATION WHICH BECOMES APPARENT AFTER BID OPENING IS A LEGITIMATE REASON, AND MAY BE A COMPELLING REASON, TO REJECT ALL BIDS AND CANCEL THE INVITATION. SEE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS 2-404.1(B)(I).

AS TO WHETHER THERE IS A VALID BASIS FOR THE AIR FORCE SPECIFICATION WHICH PRECLUDES THE USE OF METAL DRUM HOUSING FOR THE DOGS, YOU HAVE FURNISHED STATEMENTS BY PERSONS, WHO APPEAR TO BE PRACTICED IN THE USE OF DOGS FOR TOXICOLOGY STUDIES, TO THE EFFECT THAT THEIR EXPERIENCES HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT METAL HOUSING HAS NO DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON DOG HEALTH. YOU ALSO STATE THAT THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE USES METAL HOUSING FOR ITS MODEL COLONY AT FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, WHICH IS IN A MUCH COLDER CLIMATE THAN YOUR FACILITY. YOU THEREFORE REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE POSITION TAKEN BY THE AIR FORCE VETERINARIAN THAT A HIGHLY CONDUCTIVE METAL SURFACE IS INADEQUATE SHELTER DURING COLD WEATHER, AND THAT SUCH INADEQUACY MAY BE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE DOGS WHICH ARE LESS SUITED FOR THE USE INTENDED.

UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 27, WE REQUESTED THE AIR FORCE TO RECONSIDER ITS POSITION. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE USES METAL HOUSING AT FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, THE FORT'S HEAD OF THE VETERINARY SECTION HAS ADVISED THE AIR FORCE AS FOLLOWS:

"THE STANDARD HOUSE FOR OUR DOGS IS CONSTRUCTED OF CEMENT PIPE WITH 2" WALLS. EACH HOUSE IS ABOUT 38" LONG, 25" IN DIAMETER AND IS SUPPLIED WITH A WOODEN FLOOR WHICH HAS A 1/2" THICK PLYWOOD BOTTOM AND 3/4" SLOPING SIDES TO FIT THE INSIDE CONTOUR. THE DOOR END HAS A 10" X 15" OPENING AND A 3/8" RUBBER AND FABRIC FLAP MADE FROM INDUSTRIAL BELTING MATERIAL. THE OPPOSITE END IS NOT REMOVABLE AND HAS A 2" VENTILATION HOLE NEAR THE TOP. EACH HOUSE PROVIDES SHELTER FOR TWO DOGS AND RESTS ON CONCRETE SUPPORTS IN THE GRAVEL BASE.

"THE SQUARE METAL HOUSES ARE USED ONLY FOR WHELPING BITCHES. THEY ARE INSULATED AND MUCH LARGER THAN THE STANDARD CEMENT HOUSE IN ORDER TO PROVIDE ROOM FOR THE LITTER. *** WE SET OURS DIRECTLY ON THE GRAVEL AND HEAT THEM WITH THERMOSTATICALLY CONTROLLED 250 WATT REFLECTOR INFRARED BROODER LAMPS. SECTIONS OF INDOOR-OUTDOOR CARPETING ARE ALSO PLACED ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE."

AS TO THE REJECTION OF METAL DRUMS AS ADEQUATE HOUSING, THE ASSISTANT CHIEF, VETERINARY MEDICINE DIVISION, AMRL, HAS REVIEWED THIS MATTER IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR ALLEGATIONS AND HAS ADVISED, AS FOLLOWS:

"2. THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT THE IFB REQUIREMENT IN QUESTION IS A SOUND AND REASONABLE ONE. THE INSTITUTE OF LABORATORY ANIMAL RESOURCES (ILAR), A BRANCH OF THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL, HAS AS ONE OF ITS OBJECTIVES THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE SUPPLY OF LABORATORY ANIMALS. PURSUIT OF THIS OBJECTIVE, ILAR HAS ESTABLISHED AND PROMULGATED A SERIES OF STANDARDS FOR THE BREEDING, CARE, AND MANAGEMENT OF VARIOUS LABORATORY SPECIES. THESE STANDARDS HAVE BEEN WIDELY ACCEPTED THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY, IN BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS, AS APPROPRIATE GUIDELINES FOR THE PROPER MANAGEMENT OF THE VARIOUS SPECIES. IN 1964 THE 'STANDARD FOR THE BREEDING, CARE, AND MANAGEMENT OF LABORATORY DOGS' WAS PUBLISHED. IN THIS PUBLICATION ILAR RECOMMENDED THAT OUTDOOR FACILITIES SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE PROTECTION TO THE ANIMALS FROM LOW TEMPERATURES, AND THAT SUPPLEMENTARY HEAT SHOULD BE PROVIDED IN DOG HOUSES DURING WINTER MONTHS.

"3. THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH (NIH) HAVE RECENTLY INSTITUTED THE POLICY THAT INSTITUTIONS RECEIVING NIH FUNDING SHOULD EVALUATE THEIR ANIMAL FACILITIES USING THE STANDARDS OUTLINED IN THE 'GUIDE FOR LABORATORY ANIMAL FACILITIES AND CARE' (PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE PUBLICATION NO. 1024). THE NIH IS ONE OF THE MAJOR SOURCES OF RESEARCH FUNDS FOR ANIMAL-DERIVED RESEARCH PERFORMED IN THIS COUNTRY. IT IS STATED IN THIS GUIDE THAT IF DOGS ARE HOUSED OUTDOORS, PROVISIONS TO AID THEIR NATURAL TEMPERATURE REGULATION ARE ESSENTIAL. THE GUIDE FURTHER STATES THAT WHEN AMBIENT TEMPERATURE FALLS BELOW 50 DEGS F, SHELTER AND CLEAN NESTING MATERIALS SHOULD BE PROVIDED, AND THAT THE ANIMALS SHOULD BE MAINTAINED IN A STATE OF RELATIVE THERMAL NEUTRALITY. IT IS ALSO NOTED IN THE GUIDE THAT 'THE CAGING OR HOUSING SYSTEM IS PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT SINGLE ELEMENT IN THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT FOR LABORATORY ANIMALS.'

"4. THUS BOTH ILAR AND NIH ARE OF THE OPINION THAT FOR PRODUCTION OF OPTIMUM RESEARCH DOGS, SUCH DOGS SHOULD BE WELL PROTECTED FROM EXTREMES OF TEMPERATURE. METAL BARREL HOUSING DOES NOT PROVIDE SUCH PROTECTION.

"5. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THIS DIVISION TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY ANIMALS FOR USE IN THE RESEARCH PROGRAMS OF THE AEROSPACE MEDICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY. THE SPECIFICATIONS LISTED ON THE IFB IN QUESTION ARE A VALID EFFORT TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL, AND THERE ARE VENDORS AVAILABLE WHO CAN MEET THESE SPECIFICATIONS ... "

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE AIR FORCE POSITION IN THIS MATTER IS FOUNDED UPON ADEQUATE SUPPORTING DATA, AND WE THEREFORE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT ITS REJECTION OF UNINSULATED METAL DRUMS IS UNREASONABLE.

YOUR PROTEST IS THEREFORE DENIED.