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Articles and Reports

Letter to AAALAC demanding that Harvard Medical School and Vanderbilt University be placed on probation for incidents of animal abuse and negligence

1081-B St. Rt. 28 PMB 280
Milford, Ohio 45150

4 June 2007

Dr. John G. Miller
Executive Director
5283 Corporate Drive. Suite 203
Frederick, MD 21703-2879

Dr. Miller,

I am contacting you today to request that you take severe and immediate action against two AAALAC accredited laboratories: Vanderbilt University and the Harvard Medical School. Both of these laboratories have a lengthy record of substantial and significant violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) over a sustained period of time. Therefore, I hereby request that you immediately revoke the accreditation for these laboratories because it is clear that they do not adhere to AAALAC standards for animal care and scientific procedures. It is also patently clear that they do not follow federal laws.

For full-text of the AWA violations committed by these facilities please examine our website:

For Harvard Medical School:

For Vanderbilt University:

If it would be helpful to you I would be happy to provide you with full copies of all USDA documentation regarding these facilities.

The Harvard Medical School has accumulated 46 violations of the AWA in a three-year period including seven repeat violations. The majority of these violations are in the areas of Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, Cleaning/Sanitation, and Facilities. However, several individual incidents were extremely disturbing. In July of 2003 one primate escaped during an incident that occurred as several squirrel monkeys were being transported across the property of the primate center, this was clearly due to negligence. During July of 2004 a primate died due to strangulation when left unattended in a primate restraint chair.

During 2006 a cat died due to unapproved anesthesia and a dog lost 20% of his/her body weight without being reported for veterinary care.

These incidents are only the tip of the iceberg at this facility. Of the 46 violations mentioned above, 11 were committed by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, the very body that is charged with enforcing the AWA within this facility. Other abuses included inadequate veterinary care, food, water, sanitation, housing, etc. Clearly this institution has no regard for the law, correct scientific procedures, or for the welfare of the animals used in experimentation.

The recent records of Vanderbilt University may actually be worse than that of the Harvard Medical School. Vanderbilt has amassed 49 violations of the AWA within 3 inspections that occurred inside a two year period. The number of violation occurring at Vanderbilt has increased with every inspection. The abuses at Vanderbilt include one incident which took the life of a primate through dehydration (the water supply for this animal had been turned off) and one incident during 2006 centered around an unauthorized surgery in which the eyes of a bush baby were cut out.

Again, the IACUC of Vanderbilt was responsible for violating the Animal Welfare Act 17 times during this time period. Other abuses included inadequate veterinary care, food, water, sanitation, housing, etc.

Both of these facilities have demonstrated a lack of respect for federal laws, appropriate scientific procedure, and animal welfare. They should not have the respect which comes with AAALAC accreditation.

Therefore, I officially request that you immediately put these facilities on probation and revoke their accreditation in the near future if no improvement occurs.

I would appreciate a response to this letter within five (5) business days.

With Respect For All Life,

Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.,
Executive Director, SAEN

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