University of Akron cited in the deaths of 2 voles in research lab

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Please contact the Director of the USDA's Eastern Regional Office to insist that they take immediate action against the University of Akron for killing two voles through negligence.

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 2000
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 855-7100
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University of Akron cited in the deaths of 2 voles in research lab

By Donna J. Miller, The Plain Dealer, Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Two mouse-like voles died of dehydration at the University of Akron last year, and an animal rights group wants the university slapped with the maximum $10,000 fine for violating federal animal protection laws.

Michael Budkie, director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "œI insist that you take the most severe action allowable under the Animal Welfare Act and immediately begin the process of issuing a fine against the University of Akron."

The USDA cited the university in November after learning that the two voles died in cages with empty water bottles.

"For the first five days of September the voles were not observed daily," USDA veterinarian Kerry McHenry wrote in his inspection report. "As a result, water was not provided as needed. Two voles died after being found with empty water bottles Sept. 6."

The university issued a statement after learning of SAEN'™s letter and news release.

"The University of Akron takes seriously the health and welfare of all research animals and, as such, we reported the death of two voles (mouse-like creatures) to the USDA on Nov. 26. That self-report resulted in a USDA inspection. The individual responsible for the care of these rodents is no longer with the University. At any given time, there are hundreds of rodents being cared for in our research labs. We continue to enforce the highest standards of animal care."

The voles are used in research on the endocrine system's affect on behavior, university spokeswoman Laura Massie said.

Budkie said, "œIf the university' personnel are incapable of providing basic care, how can they be trusted to conduct reliable complex research?"

SAEN also recently asked the USDA to fine Ricerca Biosciences in Concord, near Painesville, for instilling a test substance into a monkey'™s lungs instead of its stomach in 2010. The monkey died in its cage, according to USDA reports.

Nationally, 46 research laboratories at 27 universities and 19 private facilities killed over 230 animals last year through negligence, Budkie said, citing USDA reports. 

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