Watchdog group files complaint against WSU
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Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
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Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Washington State University for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence killed a ferret, a goat, and a rabbit. Their negligence MUST NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law


Watchdog group files complaint against WSU
From Justyna Tomtas, LewistonTribunename, Febrary 20, 2019

A nonprofit watchdog group has filed an official complaint against Washington State University alleging violations to the Animal Welfare Act in regards to four incidents where animals died while under the care of the university.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed the complaint Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one of the federal oversight agencies of WSU.

The animal rights group monitors the nation’s research facilities for illegal acts and animal abuse.

The group is asking WSU to be fined about $30,000.

Most of the incidents date back to last summer, according to Nina Woodford, director of the Office of the Campus Veterinarian at WSU.

“I do want to point out these were all self-reported (prior to this complaint),” Woodford said. “We do have a process for investigating any concerns or incidents that occur. These reports are part of our normal process and transparency in making sure that animal welfare is our primary concern.”

The incidents listed in the complaint include:

A snowshoe hare that was found dead in a trap and had been apparently targeted by a predator. The field study took place in the national forest north of Spokane. One hundred hares were trapped as part of a study that looks at the animals’ population density and distribution to aid a recovery plan for Canadian lynx. Only one of the animals died, Woodford said.

A goat died at the Pullman campus after its head was caught under a gate. Woodford said the issue has since been resolved to avoid repeat occurrences.

A ferret that underwent a craniotomy was later euthanized after a thermal injury that likely occurred from the heating pad that was used. Woodford said no malfunctions to the heating pad could be pinpointed, but as a precaution, the pad was discarded.

A study on rabbits that looks at what kind of material can be used in bone implants led to complications. According to Woodford, all 10 of the animals were set to be euthanized so researchers could analyze the bone tissue following the surgery, but several were put down earlier because of complications.

According to Stop Animal Exploitation Now, the group filed two other complaints against WSU in August and September of last year, regarding the deaths of eight animals.

Woodford said WSU is committed to the highest standards of ethical and humane care of the animals in its programs.

“We have a large and diverse animal program, so on occasion we have unexpected events that happen,” Woodford said.

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