USDA cites CU Boulder for vole deaths
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Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Animal Welfare Operations, USDA-APHIS
[email protected] 
[email protected] 

Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against University of Colorado, Boulder, for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act which killed two voles. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


USDA cites CU Boulder for vole deaths

From Katie Langford,, May 26, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a critical citation to the University of Colorado Boulder after a meadow vole and prairie vole died as a result of injury and dehydration.

The USDA inspection reports were made public by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
A spokesperson with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the reports.

According to the inspection reports, staff found a dead meadow vole with its head pinned between equipment in its cage in February. It had likely been dead for up to six days before staff realized it was dead, according to the report.

In a second incident in February, a ball-bearing water bottle became unusable, leading to one prairie vole dying and one “found in a state that warranted euthanasia” because of dehydration.

CU Boulder reported both incidents to the National Institutes of Health in February, according to documents published by SAEN.
USDA spokesperson Andre Bell said he couldn’t speculate on what would happen as a result of the citations and referred to the agency’s website, which lists possible enforcements such as official warnings, settlement agreements, referrals for administrative proceedings or referrals to the U.S. Department of Justice “in cases involving the most serious violations.”
Statements from PETA and SAEN decried the animal deaths at CU Boulder.

“Voles are known to be intelligent, sensitive, and empathetic, but the same cannot be said about the workers in CU-Boulder’s laboratory,” said PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo in a statement.

CU Boulder spokesperson Andrew Sorenson referred to a statement about “the use of animals in research and teaching” posted on the university’s website and declined to comment further.
“The University shares the concerns of those interested in the welfare of animals. Individuals at the University are committed to caring for animals in a respectful, professional and humane manner during the course of research and teaching projects,” the statement reads in part.

SAEN has filed additional complaints that asks regulators to impose a $10,000 fine per infraction, per animal, according to a statement from the organization.

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