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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!
[email protected]

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut comprises an instance of a facility that had been the target of enforcement activity by USDA/APHIS. Charges were filed against the University of Connecticut for inadequate Veterinary Care, IACUC violations, Sanitation, Handling and Housing in March of 2001. The charges were settled in January of 2002 when the university paid a $129,000 fine. However, it appears that the fine has made little difference at the University of Connecticut.

On 5/30/01 the university was cited for many different violations. Uncorrected violations from a previous inspection included: shelter from sunlight, structural strength, and housekeeping.

More serious violations were listed in the area of personnel qualifications. "Twenty-two naked mole rats died after several days of husbandry neglect due to the caretaker/principal investigator being on vacation. The substitute caretaker was not contacted to care for the animals." One research protocol continued after approval for the experiment had expired. "An incident report on 2/01/01 detailed an investigation into a serious veterinary care issue involving a rabbit under protocol Y1401301. A rabbit had eviscerated post-operatively and a technician attempted to surgically correct the problem without contacting the attending veterinarian. The rabbit died." The inspector goes on to state: "The Institutional Official of this research facility has assured compliance with the Assurance statements on the Annual Report of Research Facility (APHIS Form 7023) by signing the Annual Report. It is apparent from the deficiencies described in this report that these Assurances are not being met."

On 8/13/01 the university is cited for a number of violations regarding cat surgeries. The issues cited include IACUCs, Personnel Qualifications, and Veterinary care. Several cats were inadequately observed after surgery, leading to the death of one cat: "Cat F083 surgery on 07-11-01 ended about 11 am. Next observation 135pm by the attending veterinarian, he noted the need to check every 15 20 minutes until recovered. Next observation 335pm cat still out, breathing very shallow non-responsive. Called the attending veterinarian. 405pm not breathing cyanotic dead. The surgeon explained that the animal was left unattended but checked about every 2 hours due to the people being in another building." There are also violations in the area of record keeping requirements. "Surgery record for cat F083 not available for inspection. The surgeon made out a new record and disposed of the original one.

The inspector makes a telling comment while reporting a repeat violation in the area of personnel qualifications: "It is apparent from the items noted in this inspection that the facility has not ensured that personnel are qualified to perform their duties. The person involved in protocol Y140801 was also involved in the protocol from the last inspection Y 140 1301. The facility procedure for post-op care indicates that the animal will be observed continuously until fully recovered. The surgeon said that the animal was observed every two hours."

On September 11. 2001 the university is cited with 4 repeat violations in the areas of IACUC, Personnel Qualifications, Veterinary care, and watering, and sanitation. On 11/14/01 the facility is again cited for inadequate veterinary care when 7 mole rats died post-op. On 6/11/02 the laboratory is again cited for problems in facilities, and sanitation.

On 8/26/02 the IACUC is again cited for multiple violations regarding protocol Y 140-1801. Incorrect medications were administered, and other drugs were administered at 150% of the correct dosage. As a result "The animal was unconscious for approximately 7 hours after receiving these medications. The animal also had to be supported with fluid therapy for 2 days post-op, and was inappetent during this time and received diazepam as an appetite stimulant. Overdose of medications can result in harm to animals. This protocol has to be reviewed, and no other animals used until the review takes place."

"A previously suspended protocol, Y140-1801, was originally suspended due to personnel qualifications. The protocol was modified, the appropriate personnel received instruction, and the activity allowed to re-commence. The first surgery with this amended protocol, the personnel did not follow the amended anesthetic protocol for this procedure, leading to anesthetic complications. The protocol has again been suspended, and personnel have been notified that they will no longer be allowed to perform this procedure. The use of improperly qualified personnel can result in harm to animals. Personnel must be adequately trained to perform activities they are conducting. The personnel qualifications need to be evaluated thoroughly before any activity is allowed to commence."

During the same inspection the food for one pig was noted to be contaminated by bird droppings. And flies were a major problem in the Upper Swine Unit.

On January 6, 2003 the University of Connecticut is again cited for violations in the area of Personnel Qualifications, Veterinary Care, and feeding.

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