Animal rights group claims victory after UTMB official reassigned
By Harvey Rice, Chron.com, February 1, 2017
Animal rights group claims victory after UTMB official reassigned UTMB
calls claim misleading By Harvey Rice, Houston Chronicle Published 8:17 pm,
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
GALVESTON – An animal rights group declared victory Tuesday after the reassignment of a University of Texas Medical Branch official who oversees animal experimentation.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now! issued a news release saying that Toni D'Agostino had been removed as UTMB's institutional official, a title given to the official responsible for overseeing compliance with federal regulations governing experiments on animals.
SAEN pointed out that it had repeatedly called for D'Agostino's removal, including as recently as Nov. 30.
UTMB issued a statement saying that D'Agostino's shift to other duties was a routine administrative change that became effective Nov. 1, calling the SAEN news release "simply wrong and misleading."
SAEN blamed D'Agostino for a string of mishaps, the most serious being monkeys who died painful deaths and a 2015 audit that found badly conducted experiments that yielded unreliable results.
UTMB was fined $33,000 in November after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, found the medical school had failed to properly handle animals.
"We see the administrative changes at UTMB as positive steps," said Michael A. Budkie, SAEN's co-Founder. "However, in light of the fact that UTMB is still the target of an ongoing federal investigation, it is clear that UTMB's negligence issues have not been solved."
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