Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 20 June 2009 Issue
Within 12 days Stop Animal Exploitation NOW has made major National/International news twice.
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN
On June 1st SAEN announced the filing of what is probably the largest Official Complaint with the USDA in the history of the Animal Protection Movement. We have requested official investigations of 57 different research projects at 26 laboratories in 15 states. United Press International picked up this story and within a few days it had spread across the internet reaching millions of people through postings on 7000 web pages.
Today, after working with an Associated Press Reporter for a week, we broke a story releasing information about terrible abuses of animals at 3 labs: Charles River, Bioreliance, and the Tufts Veterinary School.
The Associated Press story ran at approximately 3 pm today. Within one hour of the release of the story it was on the websites of over 100 national and international media outlets including: Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Forbes, NewsDay, MSN Money and the Guardian of Great Britain, many individual TV and radio stations and the Fox News Network.
In just 12 days we have brought the truth and reality of the animal laboratory out into the light. We have proven that regulation of animal laboratories by the USDA is inefficient, and so toothless as to be almost meaningless. We have also proven that animal research is highly duplicative and primarily money driven.
From the Website of the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061202403.html
Part One "Reports show animal welfare violations at 3 labs"
The Washington Post
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
The Associated Press
Friday, June 12, 2009; 2:45 PM
WASHINGTON -- Government inspection reports cited three research laboratories for a host of animal welfare violations, ranging from problems with surgeries that forced researchers to euthanize a dog and a primate to leaving a live hamster in a walk-in freezer.
The reports, uncovered by an animal rights group, detail violations at BioReliance Corp., Charles River Laboratories Inc., and Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
The animal rights group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, based in Milford, Ohio, criticized the U.S. Agriculture Department for not taking tough enforcement action against the facilities.
"These facilities should face serious consequences," said the group's executive director, Michael Budkie.
The USDA, which is charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act's standards for research animals, said it did enter into an out-of-court $10,000 financial settlement with one of the institutions, Charles River. But that settlement was for a different incident, in May, 2008, when too-hot temperatures led to the deaths of primates.
Charles River announced last August that 32 primates died in May 2008 at its Sparks, Nev. lab, saying the cause was an incorrect climate-control operation.
Budkie called the payment "virtually meaningless," saying that the primates that died probably cost the company more than $10,000.
The USDA reports show that:
-At Charles River Laboratories' Shrewsbury, Mass., facility, two primates undergoing surgical procedures were handled improperly. One subsequently had to be euthanized. A dog also had to be euthanized after a gauze square was left in its abdominal cavity during a previous surgery, and caused an obstruction.
Charles River spokeswoman Amy Cianciaruso said in an e-mail that since that August 2008 USDA report, "We have implemented new procedures and enhanced our processes, which has helped prevent the recurrence of similar events at this facility."
-At BioReliance Corp., in Rockville, Md., a lab assistant reported a hamster running loose inside the walk-in refrigerator, and a live hamster was found in a euthanasia bag inside the walk-in freezer. Failure to follow established euthanasia procedures "caused undue pain and distress for 2 hamsters and possibly 18 other hamsters."
Another report said a lab assistant reported finding a dead hamster in a cage in June 2008 after the cage was removed from a sterilizer. "It is assumed the animal was alive prior to being placed" into the sterilizer, the report said, and a system of checks and balances must be established "to ensure animals are not subjected to unnecessary pain and distress."
BioReliance said it reported the hamster incidents to the USDA. "The issues surrounding the events have been corrected and disciplinary actions were taken. Since these events, the company has received two clean inspections by the USDA," the company said in a statement.
-At Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Mass., a 2006 USDA inspection report faulted the school for withholding anesthesia from piglets and lambs during procedures without adequate scientific justification for doing so. The report does not identify the procedures. School spokesman Tom Keppeler said it was castration.
The piglets and lambs were part of the school's working farm, Keppeler said, and farm animals in the U.S. are routinely castrated without anesthesia.
Gail Golab, director of the animal welfare division of the American Veterinary Medical Association, confirmed that anesthesia is not usually used during farm animal castrations for a variety of reasons, such as questions about the drugs' effectiveness and residue they'd leave in the animals that are ultimately eaten.
The school appealed the citation in 2007, arguing that because farm animals used for food are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act, the castration of these animals should be excluded from federal regulation under the law. The agency denied the appeal, saying the animals are covered by the law when used for teaching veterinary students.
Piglets and lambs at the school are still castrated without anesthesia - just not by the students.
At the height of the news media's interest in this issue, this story was on 7000 different web pages, including the Guardian of Great Britain, UPI, and USA Today.
Part Two"Watchdog seeks probe of leading U.S. labs"
WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- Twenty-six U.S. research labs were accused of fraud in a complaint filed Monday by an independent animal research watchdog.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed the complaint with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging a probe of 50 U.S. researchers for allegedly filing fraudulent documents and performing nearly identical experimentation in violation of federal regulations, the organization said in a news release.
"The animal research industry is just as unregulated as Wall Street was before the current economic crisis," said Michael A. Budkie, SAEN executive director. "If this system is not overhauled, the next meltdown will be in research laboratories."
The non-profit group based in Ohio said it filed the complaint following a study of 57 taxpayer-funded research grants valued at more than $110 million during a five-year period. The study concluded the projects have a redundancy index of 5.4 out of a possible 6.
The projects are funded at 26 separate U.S. labs, including Harvard, Stanford, Emory, University of Alabama, University of California campuses at Berkeley, Davis and San Francisco, as well as Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers and Duke. Other labs named in the complaint are Wake Forest, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Vanderbilt, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, Brown University, Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, Salk Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, City College of New York, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Chicago and University of Washington.
After Reading Two Part Report Please check out our website at www.saenonline.org to keep up with all of our most recent work.
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN
Many of the projects in question are also directly connected to other federal violations including depriving primates of water and the performance of unapproved surgical procedures.
Contact: Michael Budkie, SAEN, 513-575-5517; 513-703-9865 (cell)
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