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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Animal rights group asks to tour NDSU facilities

Amy Dalrymple, The Forum
Published Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An animal rights activist wants to tour North Dakota State University to see how the university responded to 27 animal care violations brought to light in a 2006 U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection.

Michael Budkie, executive director for watchdog group Stop Animal Exploitation Now, is investigating NDSU’s animal research operation and sent a letter Tuesday requesting a tour of the facilities.

North Dakota State University officials say they addressed the issues and paid a $12,218 fine to the USDA.

The USDA found no violations at NDSU during its most recent inspection, said Phil Boudjouk, an NDSU vice president who oversees research.

USDA inspection reports from 2006 say NDSU had significant deficiencies, including sheep that were found dying and suffering unnoticed by personnel that an internal committee labeled as minor issues.

NDSU took the violations seriously and immediately spent about $60,000 to correct the problems, Boudjouk said.

The university also will spend another $137,000 annually for additional veterinary staffing.

“One of our issues has been animal research at NDSU has been growing at a very hefty pace,” Boudjouk said. “Clearly, we had issues that our staffing wasn’t where it needed to be.”

Boudjouk said he had not seen the letter from the animal rights watchdog group, but he expects NDSU as a public institution would grant a tour.

USDA spokesman Jim Rogers said NDSU paid its fine and the matter is considered closed. NDSU has not been issued any other fines, he said.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspects animal research facilities unannounced at least once per year to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, Rogers said.

NDSU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is required to evaluate animal care and keep records, Rogers said.

Some violations dealt with issues the NDSU committee cited as acceptable or minor that the USDA called significant deficiencies. The USDA said the there was no documentation of adequate training for committee members.

The report also cited incidents of inadequate veterinary care.

NDSU responded by hiring a full-time attending veterinarian, providing continuing education for personnel and implementing weekly inspections, Boudjouk said.

In his letter to President Joseph Chapman, Budkie and his Ohio-based animal rights group ask for copies of NDSU documents that relate to animal care.

Budkie called the NDSU violations “scandalous” and said he’s doing his own investigation because he thinks the problems go beyond the need for additional staffing.

“I think it’s a more systemic situation and more needs to be done to address it,” Budkie said. 

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