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USDA Found More Animal Research Violations At UW
Federal Agencies Conduct Joint Investigation Of UW Program
Updated: 7:39 am CST January 1, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- The federal animal welfare arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus at least two separate times in 2009 before returning with inspectors from another National Institutes of Health agency earlier in December.
The rare joint federal investigation of the UW-Madison's animal research program earlier in December found various federal animal welfare violations.
According to documents obtained by WISC-TV, the USDA had previously cited UW-Madison for three serious violations involving monkeys during a visit in April and in another visit about three months ago.
That September inspection focused on monkeys at the medical school. The first violation centered on a monkey who had died after being chronically sick for three years.
The USDA said there was inadequate veterinary care when the monkey, "experienced chronic health problems (lameness and neurologic signs) from March 2005 until its death in November 2008." It said "recommendations (by the attending vet) discussed with the principal investigator were not followed."
The USDA said "the IACUC or oversight committee investigated, and had to address the situation through disciplinary action and retraining of staff."
The second September violation involved an experimental monkey with a brain abscess that "required antibiotic treatment" but "although the vet recommended the antibiotic regimen be changed … and (the animal) further evaluated for euthanasia … these recommendations were not followed or addressed," the USDA report states.
Some animal rights groups said that's inexcusable.
"When you're talking about a monkey that is suffering from a brain abscess to the point that the veterinarian is actually recommending euthanasia and yet the researcher is allowed to avoid performing that operation to save this animal from suffering all this pain, that tells me there's something very wrong with program at the University of Wisconsin," said Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now!
Budkie said his group, based in Milford, Ohio, opposes primate research for moral and financial reasons. Budkie said his group filed the complaints that spurred the earlier inspections this year.
One of two federal agencies that recently inspected UW-Madison's animal research program holds the purse strings to the hundreds of millions of federal dollars the program gets each year.
WISC-TV was unable to reach any of a number of UW-Madison administration officials Thursday for comment.