Watchdog: USF suspends West Nile projects after failed protocol
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now



Dr. Judy Genshaft, President,
University of South Florida System
[email protected]

Dr. Genshaft,

I am calling on you to immediately terminate the West Nile Virus experiments conducted at USF on Zebra Finches. The Principal Investigator of this potentially dangerous project has violated federal guidelines multiple times, and should not be permitted to work with animals ever again. USF recently made the statement: "USF believes in the respectful and ethical treatment of animals in research projects." If this is true, then repeat violators must not be allowed to continue to abuse animals.


Watchdog: USF suspends West Nile projects after failed protocol
By, April 6, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of South Florida has suspended four West Nile Virus projects due to a failure to handle protocol and sanitation rules, according to a watchdog group.

A report to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee said that on Aug, 7, 2016, eight gerbils were injected with Brugia malayi larvae. The next day four of the gerbils were dead, and four others were near death and then were euthanized. A review found that the samples might have been contaminated.

Click here to USF letters in the case (PDF).

This is a statement from USF:

"During a routine self-inspection in October 2016, a University of South Florida veterinarian discovered possible noncompliance with the protocols of one researcherís West Nile projects that involved eight birds. Following the universityís standard procedure, the matter was self-reported to the appropriate USF oversight committee and federal agencies. After a review of the circumstances, it was determined that there was deviation from the research protocol. As a result, a total of four West Nile projects being conducted by the same researcher at one facility were temporarily suspended. In January 2017, the federal agencies notified USF that they have accepted the corrective steps put in place by the university and consider the matter closed. West Nile studies have now resumed.

"As an institution, USF believes in the respectful and ethical treatment of animals in research projects. The university has a vigorous review and training process. USF will continue to abide by all state and federal laws and guidelines."

SAEN, a nongovernmental watchdog group that monitors the nation's research facilities for wrongdoing, found the information in government records. 

See also:

Return to Media Coverage