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

Newsletters
The Defender
Vol. 2, No. 1 - Spring/Summer 2003

National Lawbreakers CampaignTargeting 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 States.

On 6/12/03 we released our findings in a dramatic report: Squalor in the Labs (available online at: http://www.all-creatures.org/saen/articles-rep-sq.html). 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 for primates.

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 abuses.

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 U.S.

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."

Emory University

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 morning.

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 MPTP injections."

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 removed.

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 as abnormal.

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."

Harvard University

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."

McLean Hospital

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

Peter Paskevich   
Vice President Research Administration
McLean Hospital Corporation
115 Mill St.
Belmont, MA 02478-91

Return to The Defender: Vol. 2, No. 1 - Spring/Summer 2003
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