Christina Hall - Chronicle Staff Writer
STORRS ó An anti-animal experimentation organization
has placed the University of Connecticut in the top three of its worst
federal law violators for treatment of laboratory animals.
The group ó Stop Animal Exploitation Now ó compiled a
report that showed UConnís Storrs campus had 43 violations of the
federal Animal Welfare Act from May 2001 to January 2003.
That places UConn behind only the University of
California at San Francisco and the University of Florida, with 51 and
47 violations respectively.
UConnís Farmington laboratory also made the list,
ranking number 10 on the list with 25 violations. The third Connecticut
laboratory cited on the list was Yale University with 19 violations.
Michael Budkie, executive director of the Ohio-based
nonprofit group, said 25 research universities were included in the
report, which found two problems in U.S. laboratories: poor conditions
and poor enforcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He highlighted the fact UConnís 43 violations all
occurred after the university was fined $129,000 in March 2001.
Following a series of USDA inspections beginning in
1999 that found numerous violations of the rules governing animal-based
research, the university paid the $129,000 under the terms of a signed
"Apparently the fine was insufficient to bring this
lab into compliance," Budkie said.
The violations cited in the private groupís report
ranged from the misuse of a bottle of expired medication in January 2003
to improper monitoring of a laboratory cat that eventually died in
However, UConn officials insist their record has
steadily improved since 1999, saying the report was using outdated data.
In January, UConn passed a two-year probation set by
the USDA for prior violations without any fines, according to Douglas
Stone, director of animal research services.