SAEN LogoCow Deaths in Surgery Prompt Charges At U of I Vet Med
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Contact USDA to DEMAND MAX FINE against University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
Director, USDA, Eastern Region
[email protected]
[email protected]


Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UI), for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence killed five cows. It is unconscionable that a university that includes a veterinary college would allow non-sterile surgery to be performed and then would fail to provide adequate care, leading to unnecessary suffering and death for these cows. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The time is NOW to send a clear message with stiff penalties to these renegade, negligent facilities that these behaviors will NOT be tolerated!


Cow Deaths in Surgery Prompt Charges At U of I Vet Med
By Jeff Bossert,, September 15, 2015

The University of Illinois’ School of Veterinary Medicine says it’s taking corrective actions after the USDA found poor surgical procedures led to the deaths of five cows last month.

The agency said the cows weren’t properly monitored, and the abdominal surgery was done in a prep area.

University spokesperson Robin Kaler says future procedures at the hospital will be done in a surgical suite instead, with increased veterinary staff monitoring students.

The report also involved post-operative monitoring of the cows by veterinary faculty, staff, and students. Michael Budkie with the group ‘Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!’ requested the investigation by the USDA.

“Any veterinarian knows that these kinds of things should be done – especially if a surgical procedure is done in such a way that contamination may have been possible," he said. "So UI botched these procedures on both ends.”

Four of the animals died, while a fifth had to be euthanized. Kaler said the cows were purchased for students in surgical training courses, and not clients of the vet clinic.

"We are committed to offering opportunities for our students to gain the skills they need to become competent practitioners," she said. "Surgery that involves opening of the gastrointentinal tract carries a higher risk of infection, but is an essential skill for a practitioner.

Budkie is calling for a full investigation of the incident, and up to a $100,000 fine. The News-Gazette reports the USDA will be conducting a follow-up inspection at the vet school, but will not be investigating this incident further.

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