Animal rights group files complaint alleging negligent treatment of UC Irvine research animals
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Dr. Robert Gibbens Director, Western Region, USDA
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Please LEVY a MAXIMUM FINE against University of California, Irvine, for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) when their negligence killed a sheep, a pig, and four rabbits. Their behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


Animal rights group files complaint alleging negligent treatment of UC Irvine research animals
From Alicia Robinson,, September 18, 2018

An Ohio-based animal welfare group has filed a complaint with a federal agency about UC Irvine’s treatment of research animals that includes allegations a university spokesman said are “flatly inaccurate.”

Stop Animal Exploitation Now sent a Sept. 15 letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggesting the 2017 deaths of four rabbits, a sheep and a pig in UCI labs were the result of negligence by medical researchers and that they violated the federal Animal Welfare Act.

The USDA enforces the act, which covers dogs, cats, sheep, hamsters and some other animals that may be sold, exhibited or used for research. A USDA spokesman was unable to comment Tuesday, Sept. 18, on whether the agency will investigate the complaint.

Michael Budkie, a Stop Animal Exploitation Now co-founder, said the group learned of the animal deaths and the surrounding circumstances from university documents it obtained through a public records request. The documents, which are internal reports to a university committee that oversees research involving animals, describe any “adverse or unanticipated events” and how researchers handled them.

Budkie said the reports show a sheep that died of internal bleeding may have gotten too much of a drug to prevent blood clotting, a rabbit and a pig died after receiving anesthesia, and three rabbits arrived at the lab already ill, but were not given veterinary treatment.

“Seeing situations like this, where animals are dying that quite simply didn’t have to, that’s when the regulatory system should kick in,” Budkie said.

UC Irvine spokesman Tom Vasich disputed that researchers were negligent. He also noted that a USDA inspector – who visits the lab annually, unannounced, to review procedures for all animals under the agency’s jurisdiction – has not given the school any citations. The most recent inspection was in April, he said.

“There’s no evidence that there were any botched surgical procedures, lack of veterinary care or unqualified staff,” Vasich said. “At no time was, or is, UCI in violation of USDA regulations overseeing the use of animals in research.”

Budkie’s group routinely requests records from federal and research agencies on treatment of animals and reports any suspected violations to the appropriate agency, Budkie said.

The internal committee that oversees UCI’s animal research is also tasked with ensuring the use of live animals is necessary, is done ethically, and causes as little pain and stress to the animals as possible, Vaisch said.

Federal regulations require that new treatments, devices and cures for humans must be tested in animals first, Vasich said, adding, “It reaches a point where you need to move to a living model.”

Vasich said the research in question included possible development of a new heart valve, better technology to diagnose burns and advanced corneal surgery techniques. 

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