FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Contact: Michael Budkie, SAEN,
513-575-5517; 513-703-9865 (cell)
attn: News Desk
Biological warfare agent - Anthrax – used in suspended Loyola
experiment gone awry; Public endangered by poor biosafety measures, warns group
CHICAGO, IL - A rabbit experiment at the Stritch School of
Medicine of Loyola University - for which Loyola received an
official warning from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture - apparently
involved use of a strain of Anthrax (Bacillus Anthracis), according
to SAEN, a non-profit research watchdog organization which is
releasing recently obtained federal documents.
Included in the federal documents are minutes of emergency
meetings called by a Loyola animal research committee (which
suspended the project), as well as documentation of an action taken
by the Loyola Biosafety Committee because the project was
Previously, SAEN released documents which disclosed the Stritch
School of Medicine (of Loyola) had amassed 22 federal violations
during three inspections - including ones for inadequate veterinary
care, repeat violations by the Institutional Animal Care & Use
Committee, unqualified personnel, and the filing of potentially
fraudulent reports with regulatory agencies.
Negligence took the lives of several dogs due to non-existent
post surgical care. Rabbits died of infections or from botched
experimental procedures, said SAEN.
"The negligence of a Loyola researcher potentially endangered the
safety of the people of Chicago by arbitrarily attempting to lower
the biosafety classification of a project involving Anthrax - a
biological warfare agent," said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive
"Not only was public safety put at significant risk but federal
laws were broken and yet there was no USDA fine. This slap on the
wrist by the USDA condones both radically unsafe practices and
animal abuse," he said.
According to SAEN the Loyola warning is just the latest in a
series of incidents where animals have died due to negligence by
laboratories without meaningful consequences.
Other facilities with incidents of fatal negligence include the
Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (San Antonio, TX) where
a baboon was dissected while still alive, SNBL Labs (Everett, WA)
killed a marmoset by running the animal through a cage washer and
Charles River Laboratories made news for killing 32 primates. None
of these facilities were fined by the USDA.
"The USDA has abdicated its responsibility for law enforcement,"
added Budkie. "This is a dangerous pattern of non-enforcement of the
law. We intend to take this issue to congress to prevent another
meltdown like those that have crippled our economy."
All federal documents are available upon request from SAEN.