Friday, September 19, 2008
By LYNN OLANOFF
BETHLEHEM | A national research watchdog organization has
uncovered incidents of animal mistreatment at Lehigh University,
including some that resulted in death.
The 14 violations occurred in 2006 and 2007, but Stop Animal
Exploitation Now just received the inspection reports recently as
part of nationwide information request from the U.S. Department of
The USDA inspection reports of Lehigh's Central Animal Facility
document an incident in April 2006 where four animals died after not
receiving proper care after surgery.
A June 2006 report indicates other animals died in Lehigh's
laboratory after being purposely deprived food. The report doesn't
mention how many animals died of food deprivation.
The species of animals that died also isn't documented. One
inspection report indicates some procedures were conducted on
Other violations lodged against Lehigh included performing
Lehigh has since corrected the violations and has received
violation-free reports from the USDA since at least the beginning of
2008, including from an inspection Wednesday, spokeswoman Dina
Silver Pokedoff said in a statement.
"Lehigh is dedicated to the humane care and use of animals and is
fully committed to complying with all provisions of the Animal
Welfare Act and other federal statutes and regulations related to
animals," she said.
She declined to comment further on the violations and the
university's animal research. In the statement, she said Lehigh's
animal research is "small in scope."
The statement also notes that none of Lehigh's research efforts
were halted because of the violations, which Stop Animal Exploration
Now Executive Director Michael Budkie said is an example of how the
Animal Welfare Act isn't doing enough.
"The law isn't doing enough to protect the animals in these
laboratories," he said. "Animals are dying as a result of
negligence. They are being starved and this was a lab that was
Budkie's group, which is based in Milford, Ohio, submitted
information requests for about 1,100 laboratories in 2006. The
inspection reports have come back sporadically over the last two
years with some still outstanding, he said.
Many laboratories had violations, Budkie said, including Franklin
& Marshall College, Thomas Jefferson University and Drexel
University in Philadelphia.
The USDA did not return a call for comment Thursday.
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