OU receives write ups for improper animal testing procedures

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OU receives write ups for improper animal testing procedures

By Mike Brestovansky, OUDaily.com, Wednesday, February 25, 2015 

The OU Health Sciences Center has recently come under fire after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that baboons meant for animal testing were being housed in unhealthy conditions.

According to the USDA's report of an inspection made on Jan. 20, Valor, Terk and Ebenezer, three young monkeys about 3 months old, were sprayed with water during the cleaning of their enclosure, which put them at risk for hypothermia.

The report also noted other infractions dealing with unsanitary conditions of both occupied and unoccupied enclosures.

Tommy Holbrook, manager of OU's Baboon Research Resource, said that the media coverage of the infractions has been overblown, citing the influence of animal exploitation activist Michael Budkie.

"They have to write us up for any deviations from protocol," Holbrook said. "But [Budkie] takes those write-ups and twists their words and makes them sound five hundred times worse."

Budkie's website, Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, has not made any statement regarding OU's citation.

Holbrook said that steps were made to correct each infraction as soon as they were noticed.

According to the report, the only infractions not corrected during the course of the inspection were those involving a leaky pipe and a damaged floor, which were to be repaired by Jan. 26 and Feb. 15, respectively. A staff meeting was also held on Jan. 22 to discuss proper sanitization protocol.

This is not OU's first instance of improperly handling live test subjects. Last summer, OU was cited for improperly medicating, sanitizing and treating test animals. In 2013, OU received backlash for euthanizing a dog via electrocution, and in 2011, a professor resigned following allegations of illegal human experimentation on students.

In the wake of these citations, an OU student has created a Change.org petition calling for the closure of OU's animal testing lab. As of press time, it has received 559 signatures.

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