On June 13, 2001 Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) made history by filing the largest Official Complaint in history with the United States Department of Agriculture/Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS). After performing an exhaustive two-year investigation, SAEN filed a complaint with USDA/APHIS requesting detailed investigations of fifty separate laboratories for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
News of the complaint spread like wildfire across the United States. SAEN staff and grassroots activists held news conferences in eight cities from coast to coast. The complaint received media coverage in Los Angeles, Boston, Amherst (MA), Seattle, San Diego, Madison (WI), Durham (NC), Winston-Salem (NC), Trenton (NJ), New Haven (CT), Davis (CA), and St. Louis (MO). The SAEN complaint has been in media in over a dozen cities via television, newspapers, National Public Radio, the Associated Press (several times), and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The alleged violations took place as a part of primate experimentation performed at fifty laboratories. The aspects of the various experiments in question involved depriving primates of food and/or water, excessive confinement to restraint chairs, the performance of unnecessarily duplicative research, and the filing of false or misleading reports with the USDA/APHIS.
A year has passed since the initial filing of this complaint. Other than the USDA/APHIS acknowledging receipt of this complaint we have received no further official communications. We have received emails from activists, which told us of a survey undertaken by the USDA/APHIS in response to our complaint. This laboratory survey has been unofficially confirmed in conversations with USDA/APHIS Animal Care Staff.
However, no enforcement actions have been taken. To our knowledge no fines have been levied, no registrations suspended, and no laboratories closed. Therefore, we believe very strongly that it is time for us to take further action. Since no action has been taken by USDA/APHIS, we would like to ask all SAEN supporters to contact the Secretary of Agriculture, Ann M. Veneman to ask her to direct USDA/APHIS Animal Care to take the strongest possible enforcement action to compel all fifty of the targeted laboratories to comply with all aspects of the Animal Welfare Act. Secretary Veneman can be reached at the following address & phone numbers:
I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of contacting the Secretary by phone and in writing to demand that action be taken against the offending laboratories. Animals should have basic rights, including things like food and water, as required by the Animal Welfare Act. All laboratories, especially those that receive government funding, should be compelled to follow the letter of the law.
We have also decided that a petition drive would be an effective adjunct to the letter-writing campaign. We want the Secretary of Agriculture to know that people across the United States are opposed to cruelty to animals in laboratories, and that we all believe that laws like the Animal Welfare Act should be enforced as stringently as possible. Please contact us for copies of the petition: 513-575-5517 or [email protected] . Your support in this campaign is truly appreciated.
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