Report: Yale abused research animals
Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"
Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010
By Ed Stannard, Register Metro Editor
NEW HAVEN — Yale University’s animal-research laboratories were cited by federal inspectors last month for several instances of abuse of research animals, including burns on two baboons and several dead hamsters.
The report was issued May 3 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The report described several incidents involving animal safety:
‰A baboon was put under general anesthesia Feb. 4 for a procedure. Later, “laboratory personnel noted the presence of blisters on a small, localized area of the abdomen of the animal” because electric heating pads had been substituted for a broken warm water unit. The researcher told inspectors a similar incident happened Jan. 26.
The report said “both animals made a full recovery” and procedures were changed to prevent it happening again.
‰Several hamsters in a study of infectious agents were found dead over several days, and others fell ill and had to be euthanized, but veterinary staff was not informed.
‰Five primates escaped from cages or restraint chairs between January and March. Primates “were loose inside their housing room in four of the incidents, and in one incident the (primate) was loose in a procedure room,” the report says. The incidents, for which inspectors faulted lab personnel, resulted in two minor injuries to primates.
‰Lax descriptions of procedures to be used or improper handling of materials and equipment also were noted. Violations of sanitary and safety issues, but no injuries, also were reported in 2009 and 2008 reports.
“What’s happened at Yale is really what we’re seeing as part of a national pattern of negligence,” said Michael A. Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, which publicized the USDA inspection.
Yale’s violations were much less severe than those at other labs, where a monkey was killed because it was left in its cage that went through a scalding washer. Other reports have found animals mutilated or dying of heat stroke or dehydration. Thirty labs have been responsible for deaths of 100 animals in less than two years, according to SAEN.
“In most instances the USDA doesn’t take meaningful action against these laboratories. … Even when the fines were issued they were reduced to the point of being financially meaningless,” Budkie said.
He acknowledged SAEN opposes all animal research, but said when instances of animal abuse are found “it has to become suspect because we don’t know what else hasn’t been done correctly.”
Yale issued a statement saying that during its inspection “the USDA commented on Yale’s strong animal care and veterinary care programs and its commitment to humane animal care and use.”
The statement said primates that got loose “were still confined within the animal facility and … never unaccounted for or in a public area” and the baboons suffered “very small superficial burns.”.
Return to Media Coverage