New animal cruelty complaint filed against UTMB
By Harvey Rice, Chron.com, December 30, 2015
GALVESTON – An anonymous whistleblower has filed a complaint alleging that officials at the University of Texas Medical Branch intentionally violated the medical school's own animal cruelty regulations in experiments on mice, an animal rights group said Tuesday.
The complaint comes amid investigations of UTMB's Galveston National Laboratory by two federal agencies of alleged violations of the 1966 Animal Welfare Act in experiments using monkeys that were suffered painful deaths instead of being euthanized as called for under approved procedures.
A copy of the complaint made available by the animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now! said that UTMB's own rules were intentionally ignored for the convenience of the investigator conducting the research. "The reason that was given was 'customer service' to appease the investigator," the complaint states.
The complaint accuses UTMB officials of clipping the tails of mice without using an anesthetic as called for by UTMB's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
UTMB said in a statement, "We adhere to the highest standards and always strive to provide the best possible care for laboratory animals. We take any allegation very seriously and will work with the proper agencies to look into this matter."
Although the complaint was made Nov. 21 to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, it was made public Tuesday because to do so earlier could have exposed the identity of the whistleblower, said Michael Budkie, spokesman for the animal rights group. He said the whistleblower asked to remain anonymous because the individual fears retaliation.
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