Animal rights organization files complaint against University of Missouri
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

ACTION ALERT:

Contact Dr. Robert Gibbens Director
Western Region, USDA
(970) 494-7478
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SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Please levy a maximum fine against the University of Missouri, Columbia, for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) when they failed to provide adequate enclosures - leading to the deaths of a puppy and a pig. Negligence at this facility also led to the performance of unapproved surgical procedures. This must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The time is NOW to send a clear message with stiff penalties to these negligent facilities that these behaviors will NOT be tolerated!

Animal rights organization files complaint against University of Missouri
By Caitlin Campbell, ColumbiaTribune.com, May 28, 2016

An animal rights group this week filed a complaint against the University of Missouri with the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking penalties for the deaths of several lab animals.

The organization Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! filed a complaint with the USDA alleging violations of the Animal Welfare Act this week related to two incidents involving laboratory dogs in 2015 and an incident with a boar that happened in March. The complaint seeks a fine of $10,000 per infraction, per animal.

Founder Michael Budkie said the Fort Collins, Colo.-based organization has found that labs often are not fined or penalized for mistakes, despite regulatory oversight of laboratory testing.

“These are situations where animals were literally killed because enclosures the university was using were faulty,” Budkie said. “If they can’t even house these animals properly, how can we trust they’re producing good science?”

The complaint cites three incidents in which animals were killed in laboratories at MU. One incident from March involved the death of a boar when an enclosure broke; one from May 2015 concerns a puppy that was killed by other dogs when an enclosure opened; another incident from May 2015 relates to researchers who performed surgeries on two dogs without proper approval.

“Since negligence at the University of Missouri … has led to multiple animal deaths and injuries, I must insist that you take the most severe action allowable under the Animal Welfare Act and immediately begin the process of issuing the maximum fine allowable,” the complaint states.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the university does not dispute that the incidents occurred. Basi said officials took the proper steps to remedy the issues and prevent problems from happening.

“We immediately notified the government and took corrective action,” Basi said. The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare at the National Institutes of Health “sent us a letter saying we did the right thing and that we took the proper corrective action.”

Reports filed with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare detail the three events.

In the most recent incident, from March, two adult boars housed in adjacent pens knocked down a wall separating them and fought, the report states, with one boar dying from apparent exhaustion or cardiac arrest. The enclosure was reassembled and reinforced, the report states, and the surviving boar had to be euthanized after it became more aggressive.

The two incidents from May 2015 related to research dogs at MU. In one case, a review of surgery sheets for two laboratory dogs showed that two procedures were performed on each dog, the report states. While the laboratory did have approval to perform two surgeries on some dogs, the procedures on the two dogs in question were not properly covered.

The second incident involved a puppy that was killed by adult male dachshunds housed in an adjacent pen. A side transfer door connecting the pens opened overnight, and researchers found one of the puppies dead the next morning. Crews examined the transfer doors and installed new latches to prevent repeat incidents.

Basi said the university takes the care of its research animals seriously. He said the USDA performed an unannounced inspection of the university’s facilities on Wednesday and found nothing of concern.

Budkie said he expects the USDA will respond to the complaint within 90 days. 

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