Animal rights group files another complaint against OHSU
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ACTION ALERT:

Contact the USDA to Demand a Maximum FINE against Oregon Health & Science University:

Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
(970) 494-7478
Robert.M.Gibbens@aphis.usda.gov 
acwest@aphis.usda.gov

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Oregon Health & Science University for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence killed and injured many primates during the last several years, including: one monkey who bled to death, one monkey dead of strangulation, one monkey whose spine was injured during an escape, one monkey with necrotic lesions, two who were burned, one who passed out from alcohol consumption, six dead and twenty-one seriously injured during fights, and more than 50% of the monkeys with significant hair loss.

Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Animal rights group files another complaint against OHSU
By Lynne Terry, OregonLive.com, Jun3 1, 2016

An animal rights group has filed a new complaint against Oregon Health & Science University over the death and treatment of animals used in research.

The complaint cited seven animal deaths in 2016 and 2015, involving a baboon, sheep, pig and four monkeys that were euthanized. The letter also mentioned a case in 2014 when an unidentified animal lost a lot of blood but recovered and two cases in 2015. One involved a pig in distress during anesthesia and the other had to do with a monkey that survived after drinking itself into unconsciousness in a study on alcoholism.

In February and March, the Ohio-based group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against OHSU over the death of two monkeys. The USDA enforces violations under the Animal Welfare Act.

The latest complaint, dated Monday, called for an immediate investigation by the USDA. The federal agency is obligated to look into the complaint.

Since OHSU "has a long history of animal abuse which has led to multiple animal deaths and injuries, I must insist that you take the most severe action allowable under the Animal Welfare Act," the letter said.

The group called for the maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine per animal and infraction.

The chief veterinarian at OHSU's primate center, Greg Timmel, said that the university does everything possible to protect laboratory animals from unintended consequences.

"These things, they do happen on occasion," Timmel said. "As we go forward we learn and that helps to minimize these things."

He said the university works with animals only when necessary, uses the smallest number possible and that a staff of more than 50 veterinarians, technicians and animal behaviorists provide good care.

"Whenever we do work with animals, we do everything we can to refine the project so their lives are absolutely as comfortable and as positive as possible and that these animals have good days," Timmel said.

OHSU's animal studies cover everything from studying alcoholism, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis to developing new cancer therapies and vaccines against HIV, human papillomavirus and tuberculosis.

"The work that we do out here is very important," Timmel said. "We're working on approaches to treat human diseases and improve the lives of humans and save the lives of humans and ultimately these treatments and approaches benefit animal life."

OHSU has nearly a half a million animals in research. Nearly all are mice or Zebrafish. Nearly 5,000 animals are housed at the primate center.

Under federal regulations, OHSU is required to report all unexpected outcomes to one of its two internal animal welfare committees. It also must report to federal authorities any serious noncompliance with the Animal Welfare Act.

The primate center is inspected by the USDA every six months, Timmel said. Inspectors have access to the internal reports.

The complaint followed a public records release by OHSU of all of the reports made to its animal welfare committees last year.

Six of the deaths cited in the complaint weren't reported to federal authorities, Timmel said. OHSU isn't required to report deaths or injuries that are an outcome of a study and fall within approved protocol.

But in May, OHSU informed the National Institutes of Health about the death of the 3-year-old baboon.

The animal bled to death after pulling out a shunt connected to an artery and vein. OHSU said the problem was caused by a faulty protective suit that the animal was wearing that was supposed to prevent such a mistake. It had the suit altered and returned the faulty suits to the manufacturer.

A director at the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare responded to the report, saying OHSU responded appropriately.

In August 2014, the USDA issued an official warning to OHSU over its veterinarian care. It said the university failed "to establish and maintain programs of adequate veterinary care that include use of appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries."

Timmel said the warning followed the death of an animal under anesthesia and animal fighting.

"Whenever anything like this happens, we look at our process, we review it and make changes," he said.

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