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

Media Coverage

Group unveils university's record of abusing lab animals

Friday, September 19, 2008
The Express-Times

BETHLEHEM | A national research watchdog organization has uncovered incidents of animal mistreatment at Lehigh University, including some that resulted in death.

The 14 violations occurred in 2006 and 2007, but Stop Animal Exploitation Now just received the inspection reports recently as part of nationwide information request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA inspection reports of Lehigh's Central Animal Facility document an incident in April 2006 where four animals died after not receiving proper care after surgery.

A June 2006 report indicates other animals died in Lehigh's laboratory after being purposely deprived food. The report doesn't mention how many animals died of food deprivation.

The species of animals that died also isn't documented. One inspection report indicates some procedures were conducted on hamsters.

Other violations lodged against Lehigh included performing unapproved surgeries.

Lehigh has since corrected the violations and has received violation-free reports from the USDA since at least the beginning of 2008, including from an inspection Wednesday, spokeswoman Dina Silver Pokedoff said in a statement.

"Lehigh is dedicated to the humane care and use of animals and is fully committed to complying with all provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and other federal statutes and regulations related to animals," she said.

She declined to comment further on the violations and the university's animal research. In the statement, she said Lehigh's animal research is "small in scope."

The statement also notes that none of Lehigh's research efforts were halted because of the violations, which Stop Animal Exploration Now Executive Director Michael Budkie said is an example of how the Animal Welfare Act isn't doing enough.

"The law isn't doing enough to protect the animals in these laboratories," he said. "Animals are dying as a result of negligence. They are being starved and this was a lab that was regularly inspected."

Budkie's group, which is based in Milford, Ohio, submitted information requests for about 1,100 laboratories in 2006. The inspection reports have come back sporadically over the last two years with some still outstanding, he said.

Many laboratories had violations, Budkie said, including Franklin & Marshall College, Thomas Jefferson University and Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The USDA did not return a call for comment Thursday. 

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