Hospital dogged by animal group

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No fines levied after deaths

By Edward Mason Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An animal-rights group charged yesterday that a Boston hospital got a slap on the wrist from fed enforcers even though two animals used for scientific research died in their care - not from testing, but from chronic neglect.

Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, citing federal reports, said Brigham & Women’s Hospital wasn’t punished after a dog died of an anesthesia overdose and a sheep died of a severe infection.

“This facility should have been fined,” said Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN, which opposes testing.

But federal officials said the hospital adequately addressed concerns raised by inspectors after the incidents. No further enforcement action was needed, they said. Brigham spokesman Kevin Myron said in a statement that the hospital “is committed to the highest quality and safety standards in all of our research.”

According to a February U.S. Department of Agriculture report, the death of the sheep, which was anorexic, was blamed on a “lack of familiarity” with record-keeping procedures and procedures for telling veterinarians about sick animals.

Poor record-keeping also led to the dog’s death, the report said.

David Sachs, a USDA spokesman, defended the agency’s handling of the cases, saying the animals’ deaths did not rise to the level of “gross neglect or inhumane treatment and suffering” that would trigger fines or confiscation of animals.

“We don’t like seeing (animals die),” Sachs said. “But they were a good citizen and it didn’t get to the point of enforcement action.”

SAEN, a Milford, Ohio-based animal-rights group, uses government inspection reports of animal testing facilities as part of a campaign to end animal testing by pharmaceutical and research labs.

The group has previously raised questions about the treatment of lab animals at some 19 U.S. facilities in which it claims 66 animals have died.

See Also:
9 Mar 2010 - Death Toll Reaches 66 as Negligence Epidemic Spreads to Boston; Brigham & Women's Hospital Cited in Two Fatalities
Brigham and Women's Hospital

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