1081-B St. Rt. 28 #280
Milford, Ohio 45150
Phyllis K. Fong,
Inspector General, USDA/OIG
P.O. BOX 23399
Washington, DC 20026-3399
Inspector General Fong,
I am contacting you today relevant to the conduct of the Eastern
Regional Office of USDA/APHIS/AC. I believe that this office’s
lax enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act has directly contributed
to the continuation of a string of negligent deaths which have
occurred at the MPI Research facility (34-R-0031).
As you may know, this facility has recently had a string of negligent
animal deaths which has taken the lives of at least six animals.
All of these animals have died in connection to traumatic injuries.
An inspection report dated 8-23-11 listed four animals which had
previously received traumatic injuries and were subsequently
euthanized, and a recent inspection report dated 4-10-12 lists two
primates which were also euthanized after receiving traumatic
injuries. While it is clear that the staff of MPI Research is
incapable of handling animals properly, I do not believe that they
are solely to blame.
As you know, your office completed an audit of the Animal Care Division of
the USDA relevant to enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act several
years ago, and that audit report stated:
AC’s Eastern Region is not aggressively pursuing enforcement actions
against violators of the AWA.2 We found that regional management
significantly reduced its referrals of suspected violators to IES
from an average of 209 cases in fiscal years (FYs) 2002-2003 to 82
cases in FY 2004. During this same period, regional management
declined to take action against 126 of 475 violators that had been
referred to IES.3 In contrast, the Western Region declined action
against 18 of 439 violators.
This OIG audit report clearly recognized that the USDA/APHIS/AC’s
Eastern Regional Office is not adequately enforcing the law.
It is clear from the incidents which have occurred at MPI Research
that this situation has not changed in any meaningful way.
The initial incident which launched this string of negligent deaths at MPI
Research could have been handled much more expeditiously, and a fine
could have been issued. I feel that if this situation had been
addressed more quickly and with a severe penalty, that the injuries
sustained by these two primates which led to their deaths could have
been prevented. Therefore, I believe that the inaction of the
USDA/APHIS/AC’s Eastern Regional Office in this matter is at least
partially to blame for the deaths of these animals.
Therefore, I officially request that the Office of the Inspector General
immediately initiate an audit of the USDA/APHIS/AC Eastern Regional
Office relevant to enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act regarding
laboratories, and especially the case of the MPI Research facility.
Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN
Attachments: MPI Research Inspection Reports, IES printout,
Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from
coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports
do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank
report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility
has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form
does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals
(primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep,
goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of
the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals
used at research facilities are not even counted.
welcome your comments and questions