Contact the USDA to Demand MAX FINES against UC DAVIS:
SAMPLE MESSAGE: Please LEVY a MAXIMUM FINE against University of
California, Davis, for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act
(AWA) when their negligence killed or injured multiple animals including
monkeys, sheep, rabbits, etc. Their behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST
be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
UC Davis under investigation for lab
By Nanette Asimov, SFGate.com, October 13, 2016
Federal officials investigating UC Davis for repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act have recently found additional animal deaths, broken limbs and suffering of monkeys and rabbits through negligence.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited UC Davis 13 times for animal welfare violations since 2014 — including eight since opening its investigation in July 2015, inspection reports show. The agency found that laboratory staff withheld or delayed veterinary treatment, failed to secure enclosures, and used pens that were too small. In other cases, staff left sharp objects near pens or let feces pile up.
UC Davis received about $40 million last year in federal research grants, according to the National Institutes of Health.
USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa declined to comment on the investigation. The agency typically spends time gathering evidence before levying a fine. Penalties can be up to $10,000 per violation of the Animal Welfare Act. In May, the USDA levied a $3.5 million fine against Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc. and ordered it to stop using animals to manufacture antibodies. The company had kept hundreds of goats, many of which were found to be mistreated.
The UC Davis investigation came to light this week when an animal rights group that helps the federal agency identify laboratory abuses contacted reporters.
“There’s an ongoing pattern at UC Davis that results in serious injuries, if not death, for the animals,” said Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW, a group that exposes lab animal abuse. “It is pathetic that Davis can’t even manage to follow the law when it is already the target of a federal probe.”
Repeat citations are rare among the nation’s 1,000 or so animal research facilities, Budkie said, noting that the USDA is investigating just 14.
UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said the campus’ Primate Center and other animal research facilities follow “all applicable laws, regulations and guidelines” and that problems are rare.
“Care of animals is a responsibility that UC Davis takes extremely seriously,” Fell said in a statement. “All animal research at UC Davis is conducted humanely.”
The USDA inspects animal research facilities an average of once a year. But problem facilities get more scrutiny. This year alone inspectors visited UC Davis four times, finding filthy conditions at llama pens, no feeders for cattle, and the deaths of two monkeys and a rabbit, records show.
The agency issued a warning to UC Davis in August 2014 for “failure to handle animals as expeditiously and carefully as possible” to avoid trauma, stress and discomfort.
That year, a lamb died after lab staff placed it in a too-small cage with a 233-pound ewe that fell on it during a two-hour drive to another research facility. Inspectors also cited researchers for performing unnecessary surgery on ewes to see if they were pregnant. Lab staff said less invasive methods were too expensive.
Inspectors also found veterinarians delayed care seven months for a monkey that was bleeding and had chronic diarrhea, and six months for a monkey with chronic vomiting.
The agency opened its investigation in 2015 after learning that staff had failed to properly secure a monkey to a platform. The unattended monkey chewed through tape securing its upper body to the platform, but its legs remained secured. Hours later, researchers discovered it had suffered a broken leg.
This May, inspectors learned that another monkey broke both legs after leaving an unsecured enclosure. Records do not specify how the injury happened.
In July, inspectors cited UC Davis for a medical procedure that accidentally killed a rabbit; failing to tranquilize rabbits before experiments or quickly euthanize them afterward; and improperly securing a monkey’s enclosure during transport. The monkey suffered internal injuries and was euthanized.
UC Davis was also cited in September for failing to secure a divider between two monkeys that didn’t get along. One was so badly injured that it had to be euthanized.
UC Davis said it is cooperating with the investigation.
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