Animal rights group files against WSU
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now


Contact he USDA to Demand a Maximum FINE against Washington State University:

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
(970) 494-7478
[email protected]
[email protected]


Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Washington State University for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act revealed in recent information where their negligence killed a dog, six bighorn sheep, denied pain relief to bears, denied water to calves, and caused broken legs in rabbits. Previous information revealed that WSU negligence killed bears and sheep. Their negligence MUST NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


Animal rights group files against WSU
By Josh Babcock,, July 15, 2016

Cites death of dog and six bighorn sheep, plus lack of anesthesia for grizzly biopsies in complaint

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an animal rights group, has filed its third complaint against Washington State University with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It alleges the university negligently failed to provide veterinary care to a dog that died and failed to provide adequate pain relief during biopsies on grizzlies at the Bear Research, Education and Conservation Center.

Other issues raised in the complaint involved the deaths of six bighorn sheep, rabbits that suffered broken legs and calves that were denied adequate water during research.

“The issues at the bear center are not confined to the bear center,” Michael Budkie, cofounder of SAEN, said. “The sheer negligence that is causing animals to die is not confined. This is a systemic problem at Washington State University.”

Budkie said the most eye-opening aspect of this complaint — filed after an SAEN public records request — was a sick dog brought to the WSU Veterinary Hospital that wasn’t provided any care before it died there.

He said since the animal was from an animal shelter, it could have been someone’s pet.

According to documents from WSU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, provided by SAEN, the dog was given the required tests by students in the junior surgery class and left in a cage.

The documents stated the animal’s condition deteriorated, and it developed a cough as the day progressed.

“Evening check noted that there was lot of blood in the cage. The technician left a text message to the vets and went home when nobody responded or turned up. However, the next morning the animal was highly moribund. When the technician went to the VTH to get a doctor, nobody could be located. The animal passed away,” as cited in the May 4, IACUC meeting minutes.

It was later found the dog died from parvovirus, a disease that attacks white blood cells in dogs and can damage heart muscles.

“This is particularly disturbing because we’re talking about a vet school,” Budkie said. “If you can’t find a vet at a vet school something is wrong.”

Nina Woodford, interim director for the Office of the Campus Veterinarian, said, “This is an unfortunate incident; Washington State University treats hundreds of shelter animals. There was a communication breakdown, and there are new standards and protocols in place.”

Woodford said those new protocols include a “new communication tree,” which includes more contacts to reach in the event of an emergency.

Phyllis Erdman, chair of WSU’s IACUC committee, said everything listed in the report was previously reported to the committee.

Woodford said the six bighorn sheep that were found dead was a known potential when the research began.

“This was a pneumonia study, there was an improved monitoring protocol in place,” Woodford said. “Due to the nature of the disease this outcome was expected; we do study pneumonia in the bighorn sheep to cure wild bighorns with pneumonia. We want to maintain those wild populations.”

“We study animals to save animals,” Erdman said.

University documents confirm that at times, tissue samples were taken from grizzlies without them receiving anesthesia.

Documents quoting Woodford claimed anesthesia was sometimes withheld because “of the lack of proper anesthetic regimen.”

WSU officials said that practice has since changed.

Other adverse events mentioned in the IACUC meeting minutes, which were included in the SAEN complaint, was lameness in rabbits and fractured femurs from metal implants.

Woodford said, “All standards were followed.”

She said the problem hasn’t happened again, but because of the adverse effects, protocols have been reviewed, scrutinized and improved.

As in SAEN’s previous complaints, it has asked the USDA to fine WSU $10,000 for every animal subject to a violation, which Budkie said was already worth six figures in early June, after the second complaint against the university was filed.

“The concept that there is this much that is unusual, says the research administrators at Washington State University are not doing their job,” Budkie said. “If we are looking at a facility that continually has this many problems, why are they able to work with animals at all? They should be facing serious penalties.”

“We are always saddened by the death of any of our animals,” Erdman said. “We feel very confident we have close monitoring; research integrity is our number one priority. We are always balancing the care of our animals with the need for research.”

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