By KTRH's Bill O'Neal
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Unqualified personnel, failure to follow proper surgical techniques and
more. One animal rights group will tell you it has counted a total of 15
federal violations involving research animals at the Texas Heart
Institute over the last three years. Some of those allegations sound
like something straight out of a horror movie.
"The euthanasia method (in one case) that was used was to literally
cut the heart out of an animal that was still alive," Stop Animal
Exploitation Now's Executive Director Michael Budkie said, who is quick
to add his group has come across other cases of alleged abuse as well.
"Another incident showed a ten day, unwarranted, and extremely
distress causing confinement of a calf," Budkie said.
The group said the findings come from a freedom of information
request, which has shed a very negative light on research facilities
around the country, not just in Houston.
"We believe that what's going on there really is indicative of what's
happening across the United States, because violations of the Animal
Welfare Act have actually increased by 90-percent over the last five
years. So what’s happening at the Texas Heart Institute is not unique,"
Budkie said. "These kinds of things are not in any way unusual, and we
want the public to know that what happens in supposedly well-regulated
facilities is anything but humane."
In a statement, The Texas Heart Institute said it "subscribes to the
highest government standards to ensure the ethical and sensitive care
and use of animals in research, teaching, and testing, and has earned
full accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation
of Laboratory Animal Care."
See: Texas Heart Institute, Houston, TX for more information