Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

After Sanford Investigator banned twice for animal cruelty, SAEN calls for permanent ban



Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Animal Welfare Operations, USDA-APHIS
[email protected] 
[email protected] 

Please launch a full investigation of Sanford Health’s animal experimentation, especially incidents around the banning of an investigator from all animal use, twice. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


After Sanford Investigator banned twice for animal cruelty, SAEN calls for permanent ban

From Kesia Cameron,, August 10, 2022

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sanford Health Investigator has been banned twice for mistreating animals, and an animal rights activist group is calling for a permanent ban.

SAEN, a non-profit non-governmental watchdog that monitors U.S. research facilities for illegal behavior and animal abuse, said an unpublished 2022 report reveals a Sanford investigator, Dr. Shanta Messereli, has twice been banned from all animal use. The organization said in a press release that they filed a complaint with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) calling for a permanent ban on Dr. Messereli from participating in any NIH-funded projects involving the use of animals.

This report, obtained via FOIA from an office of the National Institutes of Health, notes, “While conducting the first experiment under supervision, a report of noncompliance was received by the IACUC regarding Dr. Messereli. After a complete review of the reported non-compliance, the IACUC revoked Dr. Messereli’s ability to continue to work under the Oversight and Management Plan.”

SAEN has contacted Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health, insisting that the investigator’s ban be made system-wide.

The NIH should ban the violating investigator from animal studies just as Sanford Health has done. “Government funding should be withheld from violators,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., SAEN co-founder and executive director.

“Violations of the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals serious enough to result in being twice banned from animal use by an IACUC would not only endanger the well-being of any animals used in the future but would also seriously undermine the potential validity of any project in which the violator was involved. Therefore, the violator must be permanently prohibited from participation in any animal use in any NIH-funded project, regardless of what facility houses the grant,” said SAEN
Dr. Messereli’s ban under DoD-funded project

Dr. Messereli’s second ban was in a DoD-funded project, so SAEN called for an investigation by the Department of Defense. The DoD agreed to investigate Sanford Health’s violations saying, “The United States Government is committed to upholding the highest legal and ethical standards; thus we will review the information provided and proceed in accordance with applicable DoD policies, regulations, and instructions.”

See also:
Return to Media Coverage