OSU fined for rodent deaths, other veterinary care violations
By David Bitton, Stillwater News Press, July 28, 2016
Oklahoma State University was fined $12,850 for three veterinary care
violations, including the deaths of 15 rodents.
The incidents occurred between July 2013 and August 2014, but the fine was only recently handed down.
Twelve voles – a small creature similar to a mouse – died from dehydration in July 2013 and three more were euthanized because of their poor condition, according to a May press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which issued the fine.
The press release was sent to the News Press earlier this week by the national animal research watchdog group Stop Animal Exploitation Now, who had filed a federal complaint against the university, claiming multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act and asking the USDA to issue a fine.
“OSU self-reported the incidents, took immediate corrective measures that satisfied federal guidelines and procedures, and has paid the USDA fine,” said OSU spokesman Gary Shutt. “OSU is committed to the humane care and use of all animals. Many of the advances in the prevention and treatment of animal and human diseases are the direct result of animal research.”
The press release stated that water bottles in 34 voles cages were either empty or near empty.
Voles monogamy and social behaviors were being studied with the goal of better understanding autism, human bonding and causes of dysfunctions in social attachments, Shutt said.
The second violation was in September 2013 when expired materials including mineral oil, syringes, blood tubes and dewormer were found at the Equine Research Center.
The third violation – which occurred in August 2014 – happened after “you failed to give adequate guidance to principal investigators and other personnel regarding euthanasia,” according to the press release.
The incidents involved the arts and sciences and agricultural colleges along with the equine research center.
“Negligence at the Oklahoma State University caused 15 animals to die of thirst,” said Michael A. Budkie, executive director at SAEN. “Fatal animal abuse like this deserved a much more serious penalty.”
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