FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 16, 2003
Contact(s): Michael Budkie/SAEN (513) 575-5517
USDA Files False Report With Congress Regarding
Laboratory Animal Use, Says Watchdog Group
CINCINNATI – The Secretary of Agriculture has filed a
false and misleading report with Congress regarding the use of
laboratory animals – which suggests more abuse of research animals,
charged a national research watchdog organization here.
Stop Animal Exploitation NOW (SAEN) claims the Animal
Welfare Enforcement Report (AWER) filed with Congress in late 2002 is
"fraught with errors," and could understate the number of primates used
in research by as much as 27 percent.
"The compilation of such a shoddy report raises
serious questions about the ability of the USDA to enforce the Animal
Welfare Act. We want to know why the report was falsified, and why
changes were not made until we contacted the USDA," said Michael A.
Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director of Cincinnati-based SAEN.
The AWER is compiled annually by the United States
Department of Agriculture/Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
(USDA/APHIS) to report on agency activities regarding enforcement of the
Animal Welfare Act. One main focus of the report is the compilation of
statistics regarding animal experimentation.
"It was readily apparent that the statistics for
primate use in experimentation were significantly flawed," said Mr.
Budkie. "Either the primate numbers contained in this report were wrong,
or several research facilities which were receiving government funding
had closed their doors during 2002, which is not the case."
"The corrections made so far by the USDA indicate an
error involving about 5,500 primates in the totals for 8 states," said
Mr. Budkie. "We believe that there are still substantial errors in the
report, and we will continue to investigate."
"The reporting process needs to be overhauled, with
stiff penalties added for late filings and errant reports by
facilities," added Mr. Budkie.