Michigan State University Denies Official Warning from USDA
Many laboratories across the U.S. break the law on a regular basis.
Some of the most serious violations which we have seen in recent years
occurred within the facilities of Michigan State University (MSU). A
USDA inspection report from August of 2007 reveals extremely serious
violations of federal regulations that have killed dozens of innocent
animals at MSU.
On July 9, 2007, 66 mink died of heat stress while being housed in an
outdoor enclosure in 96 degree heat. Fifty-six of these unfortunate
animals had recently been housed indoors in air conditioning and were
not acclimated to the excessive temperature. Clearly, this is an example
of negligence on the part of MSU staff.
September 13, 2006, a 3 month old puppy named Kelly was found drowned in
a floor drain at MSU. The life of this innocent animal was tragically
cut short by the negligence of MSU.
The negligence and callousness of MSU is surpassed only by the
ineffectiveness of the USDA at enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. In a
written warning dated September of 2007, Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer,
Director of USDA’s Eastern Region,
absolved MSU of all wrongdoing with essentially no penalty. No fine
was issued -- no meaningful action was taken. Apparently, one can only
conclude that the lives of a 3 month old puppy and 66 mink mean nothing
more to the USDA than a few pieces of paper.
SAEN had recently requested supporters to send letters of protest to
MSU. MSU’s response was nothing short of bizarre. Marc Breedlove, Chair
of MSU’s Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, replied to your
letters with nothing less than bald faced lies. First, he said:
“The USDA did not find any violation of the Animal Welfare
Act had occurred.”
Then he went on to add:
“Donations to anti-research groups further the causes of
terrorism, deception and hate.”
We could not allow these untruths to stand unchallenged. On June 6,
2008, we contacted Lou Anna K. Simon, MSU’s president, to demand a
retraction. Within a week, SAEN supporters received further
correspondence from Mr. Breedlove retracting these lies.
Here at SAEN, we hold many basic values, such as honesty, to be
sacrosanct. The staff of animal laboratories would do well to hold the
We want to thank everyone who wrote to MSU and forwarded all of the
letters to us.