Newsletters - The Defender
Spring 2010 Issue

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


SAEN calls on Secretary of Agriculture to Take Action -– Demands Investigation of USDA Law Enforcement

As you have seen in several articles in this issue of The Defender, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! has uncovered the negligent deaths of literally dozens of animals in 18 research facilities across the U.S. The most shocking part of these atrocities is that the Animal Care Division of the USDA has done virtually nothing about these totally unnecessary deaths.

By literally pouring through thousands of pages of government reports, SAEN’s investigation unearthed the deaths of over 64 animals within 18 registered research facilities spread across the United States. Dogs, cats, primates, pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and other animals suffered cruel deaths at the hands of careless research staff in these labs. The lurid details of these ghastly deaths are recounted elsewhere in this issue of The Defender.

Horrible deaths by starvation, being boiled alive, exsanguination, asphyxiation, poisoning, botched surgeries, severe bacterial infections, temperature extremes, exposure to bleach solutions, lung hyperinflation, hit by car, and gunshot wounds were endured by these tragic victims.

The research facilities cited in these atrocities include: Colorado State University, Cornell Medical School (NY), Virginia Tech, University of Washington, Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), Stanford (CA), Joliet Junior College (IL), Dartmouth (NH), Lovelace Research Institute (NM), Charles River Labs (MA/NV), University of California (San Francisco & Santa Barbara), University of Wisconsin (Madison), Sewanee (TN), University of Connecticut, University of Minnesota, Globe University (MN), and Vanderbilt (TN).

Despite these appalling, needless deaths, the negligent labs have skirted by unscathed by the USDA’s Animal Care Division (USDA/AC) – the very regulatory agency put in charge of overseeing these labs. To the best of our knowledge only one laboratory, Charles River Laboratories (CRL), has had any fines levied for the deaths of these innocent animals. Their recent paltry $4500 penalty is utterly insufficient for literally boiling a primate alive. We believe that the punishment needs to fit the severity of the crime otherwise this slap on the wrist is just considered part of the cost of doing business.

Additionally, we believe that immediate intervention should be invoked anytime a USDA inspector becomes aware of an animal suffering unjustifiably.

Therefore, we have contacted Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, and we urgently ask that

you do the same. Our communication with Secretary Vilsack outlined the numerous incidents of neglect and abuse in laboratories involving the unnecessary deaths of over 64 animals in the last 21 months. Then, we demanded that Vilsack take action!

We stand firm on these three demands:

1. An immediate investigation of the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act by the USDA’s Animal Care Division. This investigation must be performed by an independent panel, which contains a majority of members not affiliated with research facilities.

2. In order to insure that fewer animals suffer unnecessarily inside U.S. laboratories, we have insisted that USDA inspectors be empowered to seize any animal that they observe suffering due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act. We believe that these victims have suffered enough, and they should be allowed to live out their days within the safety of animal sanctuaries.

3. The public has a right to know about the enforcement penalties enacted against research facilities by the USDA/AC. Since the majority of animal experimentation revolves around public interest either through federal money funded by taxes or public consumption of tested products, it is imperative that the USDA insure that all fines, stipulations, official warnings, or other enforcement actions be a matter of public record. Therefore, we are requesting that all documents regarding enforcement actions taken against research facilities be posted on the USDA’s website for public scrutiny.

Please contact the Secretary of Agriculture to demand an immediate investigation into the utterly inadequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.

Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
USDA
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250

AgSec@usda.gov      (202) 720-3631


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