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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Articles and Reports

Squalor in the Laboratories
An Audit of Animal Welfare Act Compliance by U.S. Research Facilities; With Detailed Examinations of Fifteen Nationally Known Labs
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director,
Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
513-575-5517 saen@saenonline.org   

Conclusion

This audit has examined both national trends in violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by all U.S. laboratories as well as instances of AWA violations by specific facilities. The national pattern of violations tends towards the largest percentage of non-compliances in areas of IACUCs (635) and Veterinary Care (286). The national statistics (though not specific to laboratories) also pointed to significant violations (227) in the area of environmental enhancement for primates.

When these statistics are examined more closely we discover that approximately 1 out of every 4 labs have been cited for inadequate veterinary care, and 3 out of every five labs have been cited for inadequate functioning of the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee. The only conclusions that can be drawn from these statistics are:

  1. Significant percentages of the approximately 1.4 million animals that are housed in labs are not receiving adequate veterinary care.
  2. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees system is primarily ineffective at regulating animal experiments.
  3. A significant percentage of the primates confined within U.S. laboratories are severely stressed and potentially psychologically abnormal.

When looking at the specific fifteen facilities discussed in this report, similar trends are seen. Thirteen of the fifteen labs had violations in the area of Veterinary Care. Eleven of the fifteen labs had violations in the area of IACUCs. Seven of the fourteen (University of Connecticut had no primates) had violations in the areas of Environmental Enhancement for primates. Two of the most consistent violators of the AWA Ė the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Connecticut (UCONN) have repeated violations in the area of Veterinary Care and Institutional Animal Care & Use Committees. Within a three year period UCSF was cited for IACUC violations no less than seven times, and Veterinary Care five times. Despite having paid a $129,000 fine for previous violations which included IACUC and Veterinary Care issues, UCONN violated these same regulations three times each in a three-year period, combined with a torrent of other serious violations.

The picture that is painted of laboratories by USDA reports is not a pretty one. Animals are suffering and/or dying of dehydration (Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut, Yale, University of Washington, UCSF). Primates are dying of inadequate veterinary care (Northwestern, Emory). Expired drugs are used without compunction. Rabbits eviscerate following surgery. The unused leg of a primate goes unnoticed for ten months until it shrivels from disuse atrophy. Severely stressed primates pace their cages ripping out their hair. Animals of many species are deprived of food or simply ignored until they die. And all of this is watched over by ineffective Institutional Animal Care & Use Committees constituted of professional personnel (i.e. DVMs, PhDs, and MDs) that apparently canít be bothered to insure adequate use of pain relievers or the following of experimental protocols.

It is quite apparent that the system designed to protect animals in laboratories is broken, possibly beyond repair. In some instances regulatory actions are not taken by appropriate agencies, and even when stiff fines are levied (i.e. $129,000) it appears to make no difference. Regulations are broken repeatedly; faulty experiments are carried out by unqualified personnel. Animals suffer and die unnecessarily behind the locked doors of laboratories across the U.S.

Go on to Appendix I: Facility Violation Trends
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