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S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe
out animal experimentation"
Vol. 2, No. 1 - Spring/Summer 2003
National Lawbreakers Campaign –
Targeting University of Connecticut
The abuses revealed at Northwestern led to the launching of a
national investigative campaign by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! SAEN
has undertaken a crusade to end law breaking by laboratories across the
U.S. We have examined reports from the United States Department of
Agriculture/Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) which
expose truly horrendous conditions within laboratories across the United
On 6/12/03 we released our findings in a dramatic report:
Squalor in the Labs (available online at:
This hard-hitting investigative report reveals terrible abuses at
Harvard, Yale, Emory, University of Connecticut, University of
California (San Francisco), California State University (Los Angeles),
and many other facilities.
Our report examines both national trends in violations of the Animal
Welfare Act (AWA) by all U.S. laboratories, as well as instances of AWA
violations by specific facilities. The largest numbers of violations
were in areas of negligence by Institutional Animal Care and Use
Committees (IACUC) (635) and inadequate Veterinary Care (286). National
statistics (though not specific to laboratories) also revealed
significant violations (227) in the area of Environmental Enhancement
When looking at the fifteen facilities discussed in this report,
similar trends are seen. Thirteen of the fifteen labs had violations in
the area of Veterinary Care. Eleven of the fifteen labs had violations
in the area of IACUCs. Seven of the fourteen (University of Connecticut
had no primates) had violations in the areas of Environmental
Enhancement for primates. Two of the most consistent violators of the
AWA, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and the
University of Connecticut (UCONN), have repeated violations in the area
of Veterinary Care and IACUCs. Within a three-year period, UCSF was
cited for IACUC violations no less than seven times and Veterinary Care
five times. Despite having paid a $129,000 fine for previous violations
that included IACUC and Veterinary Care issues, UCONN violated these
same regulations three times each in a three-year period, combined with
a torrent of other serious violations.
USDA documents reveal unbelievable negligence and abuse:
"Twenty-two naked mole rats died after several days of
husbandry neglect due to the caretaker/principal investigator being on
vacation. The substitute caretaker was not contacted to care for the
animals. . . . An incident report on 2/01/01 detailed an investigation
into a serious veterinary care issue involving a rabbit under protocol
Y1401301. A rabbit had eviscerated post-operatively and a technician
attempted to surgically correct the problem without contacting the
attending veterinarian. The rabbit died." The inspector goes on to
state: "The Institutional Official of this research facility has assured
compliance with the Assurance statements on the Annual Report of
Research Facility (APHIS Form 7023) by signing the Annual Report. It is
apparent from the deficiencies described in this report that these
Assurances are not being met."
Another USDA inspection report states:
"Cat F083 surgery on 07-11-01 ended about 11 am. Next observation
1:35pm by the attending veterinarian, he noted the need to check every
15 – 20 minutes until recovered. Next observation 3:35pm cat still out,
breathing very shallow – non-responsive. Called the attending
veterinarian. 4:05pm not breathing – cyanotic dead."
The picture that is painted of laboratories by USDA reports is not a
pretty one. Animals are suffering and/or dying of dehydration
(Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut,
Yale, University of Washington, and UCSF). Primates are dying of
inadequate veterinary care (Northwestern and Emory). Expired drugs are
used without compunction. Rabbits eviscerate following surgery. The
unused leg of a primate goes unnoticed for ten months until it shrivels
from disuse atrophy. Severely stressed primates pace their cages ripping
out their hair. Animals of many species are deprived of food or simply
ignored until they die. And all of this is watched over by ineffective
IACUCs constituted of professional personnel (i.e. DVMs, PhDs, and MDs)
that apparently can’t be bothered to insure adequate use of pain
relievers, the following of experimental protocols, or even the scant
standards of the AWA.
It is quite apparent that the system designed to protect animals in
laboratories is broken, possibly beyond repair. In some instances,
regulatory actions are not taken by appropriate agencies, and even when
stiff fines are levied (i.e. $129,000), it appears to make no
difference. Regulations are broken repeatedly as faulty experiments are
carried out by unqualified personnel. Animals suffer and die
unnecessarily behind the locked doors of labs across the U.S.
These conditions must not be allowed to continue. Stop Animal
Exploitation NOW! has taken substantial action to put a halt to these
SAEN has launched our National Law-Breakers Campaign, with an
in-depth investigation of the University of Connecticut (UCONN). We have
asked UCONN officials for internal documents so that we may assess the
following of veterinary care and experimental protocols. We have also
demanded access to the labs at UCONN so that we may examine conditions
first-hand. We will not allow these abusive conditions to cost the lives
of any more animals.
Please write to University of Connecticut to demand that they allow
SAEN staff into their labs:
Douglas W. Stone, D.V.M., Director
Office of Animal Research Services
University of Connecticut
61 North Eagleville Road, UNIT 3089
Storrs, CT 06269-3089
UCONN is only the beginning! We will work to uncover
every laboratory that is breaking the law and end their illegal acts! We
have also launched campaigns to expose abuses at Harvard, Yale, Emory,
and University of California (San Francisco). When this is combined with
our ongoing efforts to target Northwestern University, it becomes
apparent that SAEN is taking on the biggest abusers of animals in the
The University of Connecticut (UCONN) is the first
target in our National Lawbreakers Campaign. UCONN is arguably one of
the most heinous institutions ever prosecuted by the USDA for violating
the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). However, many other laboratories are
definitely in need of our attention. Several of these labs are exposed
below, with details which we have gleaned from USDA documents.
University of Pittsburgh
USDA documents from an inspection dated 9/3/02 expose
IACUC (Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee) violations concerning
a rabbit experiment. This project allows 24-hour restraint of rabbits
for a period of 30 consecutive days while the rabbits undergo continuous
motion on a hind leg.
Another violation regarding Environmental Enhancement
for primates was in this report. The citation discusses seven primates
who are individually housed, and one specific primate who was exhibiting
stereotypical pacing behavior. Sanitation violations were listed in this
inspection and during inspections conducted on 12/9/02 and 1/7/03.
On 1/22/03 the University of Pittsburgh Plumborough
Primate Facility was cited for the use of expired drugs, inadequate care
of primates recovering from anesthesia, inadequate storage of primate
food, and unnecessary isolation of primates. On 3/4/03 this same
facility was again cited for the use of expired drugs and inadequate
(too small) primary enclosures for primates.
University of Pennsylvania
USDA documents from 6/20/02 indicate violations for
inadequate veterinary care and for insufficient monitoring of animals
(sheep) after surgery was performed. The sheep also weren’t receiving
post-surgical pain relievers.
The annual report for this facility was found to be in
violation of USDA regulations, because several potentially painful or
stressful studies involving pigs and sheep, which induced cardiovascular
infarcts, were reported inaccurately.
The automatic watering system in the Stemmler
Biosafety Containment Suite was turned off preventing rabbits from
having access to water. At least one rabbit drank "excessively" after
the water was restored.
Many instances of violations exist in areas of
Environmental Enhancement for primates. Several examples are
illustrative: "Two single housed rhesus in IHGT are exhibiting
stereotypic behaviors but are receiving no additional special
enrichment. These are rhesus 94B106 who is stress pacing and AC3H who is
very aggressive and exhibiting saluting behaviors."
USDA inspection reports dated 3/18/03 discuss violations in the areas
of IACUCs for improper internal inspections and housing facilities for
non-human primates. A report from 8/23/02 discusses the death of Rhesus
monkey #3566 on 4/16/02. Apparently this primate had been steadily
declining since 6/01 – losing 32% of his/her body weight in this
14-month period. This primate had received multiple MPTP treatments over
a 6-month period. The primate received treatment for clinical problems
on 3/16 & 3/31. Health concerns were again raised on 4/14. However, the
researchers did not observe the primate on this day, and were
unavailable for contact from the veterinary staff. Husbandry staff
didn’t report the animal’s anorexic condition until 4/15 – when the
animal was found with no evident heartbeat or respiration and
hypothermia. The primate was revived, but was found dead the next
Another incident at Emory described in the USDA report involves an "
. . . anorexic, barely mobile, syringe-fed monkey that had been living
in a sleep study cubicle for ‘several days’ following multiple, systemic
The USDA inspector concludes the report with this comment: "Recent
incidents described herein demonstrate (a) lack (of) timely
communications between investigators/husbandry staff and the attending
veterinarian, one of which resulted in an animal death."
University of Florida
USDA information resulting from inspections at the University of
Florida during September of 2002 reveal violations in a number of areas.
Enclosures in three separate rooms housing dogs have " . . . excessive
amounts of feces in them. The dogs in these enclosures are becoming
soiled by the feces and also in some cases by the urine." Several food
storage rooms are contaminated with mouse droppings.
On August 26, 2002 the university is cited for inadequate veterinary
care due to an incident involving several primates. Two squirrel
monkeys, who had been used in experiments involving food deprivation,
were allowed to stay underweight even after the food restrictions were
Johns Hopkins University
USDA reports from inspections on 6/24/02 reveal violations in many
areas. The IACUC is cited for inadequate justification of the use of
baboons and squirrel monkeys in drug studies. The university is also
cited for inadequate Veterinary Care. Expired drugs were in use and a
dog, which was refusing food during experimentation, had not been noted
Environmental Enhancement is a major concern at this facility: "Over
half of the nonhuman primates are singly housed. . . . A baboon was
housed alone with no other nonhuman primate contact and minimum
enrichment at Asthma and Allergy. The baboon was acting distressed,
pacing in circles."
Government documents for 1/22/01 reveal violations in the areas of
IACUCs, veterinary care, housing, and environmental enrichment. Several
primates were recovering from anesthesia without posting of their
condition or observation. Several primates are noted with substantial
hair loss (a potential sign of stress), and another primate is showing
evidence of a bloody nose. Primate #210-99 – "exhibits hair loss,
crouching type behavior, and pattern type movements around cage. No
evidence in records that any behavioral abnormalities were noted."
USDA documents for inspections performed at McLean Hospital on 2/2/00
list many problems in the area of Veterinary Care and IACUCs relative to
primates. Drugs were still in use that had expired as much as 2 years
and 10 months before the inspection. Primates (#261-85 and #258-90) have
"excessive generalized hair loss", and the records for these primates do
not indicate that this has even been noticed. Primate #91-94 is "limping
and holding left leg up." Again, this health issue is not even mentioned
in the records for this primate. Violations exist regarding the IACUC
which refer to a project which deprives primates of food.
By December 5, 2000 the condition of primates #261-85 and #258-90
have still not been noticed. And primate 91-94 now is " . . . still
holding leg up and observations of foot at time of this inspection
showed curled up appearance (disuse atrophy?)."
We have already launched this phase of our campaign by contacting
both the director of the New England Primate Research Center (affiliated
with Harvard) and McLean Hospital to ask for tours of these facilities.
Please add your voice to ours.
Please write to these officials demanding that they give us access
to these facilities.
Ronald C. Desrosiers, Ph.D., Director
New England Primate Research Center
One Pine Hill Drive
P. O. Box 9102
Southborough, MA 01772-9102
Vice President Research Administration
McLean Hospital Corporation
115 Mill St.
Belmont, MA 02478-91
The Defender: Vol. 2, No. 1 - Spring/Summer 2003
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