Group files another animal rights complaint against WSU
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

ACTION ALERT:

Contact the USDA to Demand a Maximum FINE against Washington State University:

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
(970) 494-7478
Robert.M.Gibbens@aphis.usda.gov 
acwest@aphis.usda.gov 

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Washington State University for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act revealed in recent information where their negligence killed multiple sheep. Previous information revealed that WSU negligence killed bears, sheep, calves, etc. Their negligence MUST NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Group files another animal rights complaint against WSU
By Eric Barker, The LewistonTribune.com, September 30, 2016

Group files another animal rights complaint against WSU Stop Animal. Organization claims bighorn sheep weren't given 'adequate veterinary care'
 Exploitation Now alleges predator attacks, lack of care for bighorn sheep.

The animal rights group that has Washington State University under a microscope has filed another complaint against the school, this time for treatment of bighorn sheep.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now alleges in a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the school failed to properly take care of several bighorn sheep that were part of a research project there that ultimately resulted in what the organization is calling "negligent deaths."

"The deaths of these sheep indicate a systemic failure to provide adequate veterinary care," said Michael A. Budkie, co-founder of the group based in Cincinnati. "It appears that in many instances diagnostic work is only done postmortem."

This is the fourth complaint against the university filed by the group this year. Previous complaints have focussed on deaths of grizzly bears, pigs, calves, sheep and a dog.

The sheep cited in the latest complaint were part of research in an attempt to develop a vaccine for pneumonia that has ravaged bighorn sheep herds across the Western United States for more than a century. The animals were inoculated with the experimental vaccine, exposed to the disease and then monitored for signs of infection. The vaccine was not successful and the sheep developed the disease - resulting in several deaths.

In one case, birds such as magpies or ravens apparently entered a pen and began to feed on one dead lamb before it was discovered.

Bob Mealey, associate dean for research at the College of Veterinary Medicine, described the research as essential to conserving and recovering wild bighorn sheep populations. In the early 1800s, he said there were an estimated 1 million to 2 million bighorn sheep in the West. By the 1920s, the population dropped to about 20,000 animals and has since bounced back to 70,000 to 90,000.

But herds of wild sheep throughout the West, including those in the Hells Canyon region, continue to die of the disease that is especially hard on lambs.

"It's an incredibly important problem for wild sheep recovery to figure out how to mange or cure what is killing these lambs," he said.

Mealey also said wild animals such as bighorn sheep are stoic and mask signs of illness, as a defense against predation. That, combined with the rapid onset of the disease, means some of the animals died or became ill to the point they needed to be euthanized before researchers realized they were infected.

Charlie Powell, a spokesman for the College of Veterinary Medicine, said in some cases the animals were seen by the campus veterinarian just a few hours before dying and showed no symptoms at the time.

Mealey said the necropsy reports for the sheep are not the sort of documents that normally reflect any treatment the animals received after becoming ill.

"These are the postmortem reports so the complete treatment history is not always reflected on the form for these necropsy reports," he said.

However, Powell said if the reports are read closely there is some indication of treatment. For example, one report references drains being sutured on the animal's abdomen wall. Powell said that indicates the animal was being treated.

"These animals were being treated," he said. "They were being attended to daily and if you just pick and choose single words out of a necropsy report you can make things sound very bad but there has been no citation or anything else issued for this research because there was nothing discovered to be out of place."

Budkie is asking the institution be fined $10,000 per animal, per infraction.

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