Animal rights group criticizes IU for deaths of lab animals
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now



Dr. Jay L. Hess, Dean,
Indiana University School of Medicine
email: [email protected]

Dean Hess,

Indiana University School of Medicine negligence has killed over 116 animals due to starvation/dehydration, drowning, suffocation, botched medical procedures, etc. In addition to these deaths, there were multiple incidents in which animals were denied adequate pain relief. euthanized improperly using cervical dislocation without anesthesia, severely dehydrated, etc. This carelessness must not be tolerated. You must launch an internal investigation of all Indiana University School of Medicine animal experimentation and terminate all responsible lab staff.


Animal rights group criticizes IU for deaths of lab animals
By Michel Reschke,, May 15, 2018

An animal rights group says 17 non-compliance reports filed by the Indiana University School of Medicine regarding the treatment of laboratory animals show a pattern of negligence.

The group, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! or SAEN, is requesting an independent investigation and the firing of all staff responsible for incidents that resulted in the deaths of 116 rats and mice.

SAEN was founded in 1996 and focuses exclusively on the use of animals in research laboratories. Through public record requests, it found 17 letters IU sent to the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare documenting non-compliance over a period of less than two years. Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN, said that's significantly higher than what he has seen at other institutions.

Violations at IU involved faulty equipment that caused cages to flood, employees who forgot to feed mice and procedures that subjected mice to unnecessary pain and stress. All of those violations resulted in the death of multiple animals.

"If institutions like Indiana University can't be trusted to perform basic animal husbandry, why should we believe they can do basic science?" Budkie said.

SAEN sent a letter to the IU School of Medicine earlier this week regarding the violations. Budkie said Wednesday he has not heard back from IU, but the university released a statement, saying it maintains the highest professional standards in the care and treatment of animals.

"All cited incidents, which involved mice and rats, were self-reported, demonstrating that the university is diligent in monitoring and taking corrective action when necessary," according to the statement. "In each case, the filings were approved and accepted by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare."

Budkie countered that the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare will approve virtually any action that resembles a fix.

"We consider them to not be a regulatory agency," he said.

Budkie would like to see an independent investigation that involves experts in the field who are not affiliated with IU as well as individuals from the animal rights community.

This is not the first time SAEN has criticized IU for the treatment of laboratory animals. In 2015, the group filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the treatment of pigs. At that time, a spokesman for the university said two incidents involved improper documentation and one involved a watering tube for a pig that became disconnected. The pig was not in danger or distress and the tube was fixed right away, the spokesman said. Those policy violations were self-reported to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and mitigation efforts were accepted.

Budkie could not immediately find records Wednesday documenting the Department of Agriculture's response to the complaints, but said the agency's adjudication process can take up to three years. 

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