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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

 

Group protests at ĎUí animal clinic

Officials say abuse issues are old and have been addressed

By ERIN TONER
State News Staff Writer Tuesday, September 30, 1997

MSU officials say animal welfare violations pointed out by protesters over the weekend have been corrected.

About 15 people gathered in front of MSUís Small Animal Clinic Sunday near the corner of Wilson Road and Bogue Street to protest animal cruelty.

Michael Budkie, director and founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said the Ohio-based group came to MSU because the university has been continuously targeted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for animal welfare violations.

"This is as close as you can get to being prosecuted for cruelty of animals," Budkie said. "We want to make the point that this is going on without anybody knowing about it."

But Lonnie King, MSU Dean of Veterinary Medicine, said he didnít understand the purpose of the protest or agree with its location.

"It bothered me that they would protest in front of an animal hospital that treats 18,000 animals for the benefit of animals," King said. "The charges are old and the problems have been addressed."

MSU spokesman Terry Denbow said when he arrived at the protest, the group was reading aloud a December 1996 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that charged MSU with failing to comply with 1993 and 1994 animal welfare laws.

In the 1996 report, MSU faced various charges including failure to maintain housing facilities for animals, failure to store supplies of food and bedding to protect them against contamination and failure to maintain programs of disease control and prevention.

MSU agreed to pay $30,000 for the violationsó of which $20,000 was set aside to purchase supplies, perform maintenance and provide training facility staff members.

King said he feels MSUís animal research practices have improved since the 1996 violations.

"Things have been taken care of pretty well," King said. "The USDA inspects at least once a year and the track record within the last few years has been pretty good."

Budkie said the the group decided to protest the 1996 findings nearly nine months after they were released because they needed time to gather adequate information.

"You donít want to come out here and not be totally prepared," he said. "This case took a long time to follow through on."

Budkie said the protest was staged to raise public awareness of MSUís animal practices.

"We believe that any research facility such as MSU which has shown such a blatant pattern of violation of the law should not be allowed to use animals in experiments."

Kristen Callihan, founder of East Lansing-based Activists Against Animal Abuse, said she supports groups that attempt to make the community aware of unfair animal practices.

"I feel like (the protesters) were trying to create awareness with the community," Callihan said. "We need to hold those facilities accountable. I would like to commend them for taking action even if it is late."

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