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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

Animal rights group says NDSU fine too small

By DAVE KOLPACK Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


An animal rights activist says a fine of more than $12,000 against North Dakota State University for research violations was not enough. School officials say they've corrected the problems.

Officials with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said the school recently paid the fine for 27 violations that were discovered in 2006, including a case when two sheep were found "dying and suffering."

Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an Ohio-based animal rights organization, wrote a letter to NDSU President Joseph Chapman Tuesday criticizing the school and demanding changes.

"Many of these violations were repeat violations, clearly illustrating an ongoing situation of incompetence and negligence," Budkie wrote.

Phil Boudjouk, an NDSU vice president, said the school took the USDA report seriously and made changes to improve the care of animals.

"We certainly feel that any violations we have are cause of significant dissatisfaction on our part," Boudjouk said. "In no way would I try to dismiss or minimize the violations ... we dealt with them forthrightly."

The USDA levied the fine in October, after results from a routine inspection in 2006. The school was cited for 27 violations and ordered to pay $12,218.

NDSU faced a maximum penalty of $5,000 per violation, said Karen Eggert, spokeswoman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

"We've done (follow-up) inspections and have not found any further violations," Eggert said. "The issue has been resolved."

NDSU spent $59,578 to correct problems in the USDA report and committed a minimum of $137,000 a year for veterinary staff, Boudjouk said.

"To be honest, our staffing had lagged behind our growth in animal research," Boudjouk said.

The USDA report also criticized the school's animal care committee for the way it handled internal inspections. The school labeled as "minor" an incident where "two sheep were found dying and suffering, unnoticed by personnel, no care was being reported," the USDA said.

That case "should have been documented as a 'significant deficiency,'" the federal document said.

"Calling those 'minor deficiencies' is insane," Budkie said in an interview. "That should be reserved for something like peeling paint."

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