Watchdog group files complaint against UMD for mistreating guinea pigs in 2019 research
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

ACTION ALERT:

Contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
Director, USDA, Eastern Region
(919) 855-7100
[email protected]
[email protected]

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Please LEVY a MAXIMUM FINE against the University of Maryland (College Park), for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) when their negligence denied water and pain relief to guinea pigs, while also failing to maintain required animal care records. This behavior must NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Watchdog group files complaint against UMD for mistreating guinea pigs in 2019 research

From Leah Brennan, DBKNews.com, January 31, 2020

A watchdog group filed a formal complaint against the University of Maryland last week, urging an investigation into problems with how guinea pigs involved in research were treated last year.

In a routine public information act, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! — an Ohio-based group that monitors research facilities in the U.S. — came across a university document that detailed issues with how guinea pigs used for research were treated at the time of April 2019 inspections. They’d been overcrowded and left without sufficient water, the document read, and there was no evidence that post-surgical analgesia had been used.

To compound it, documentation surrounding their treatment was lacking — there were no surgical, anesthesia or post-operative records available at the time of the inspection, in addition to missing animal identification, husbandry logs and USDA records, the document read. Additionally, staff had “incomplete knowledge” of documents and procedures, according to the document.

In a statement sent by a university spokesperson, research vice president Laurie Locascio said the university stopped the work on the study “immediately” after a university official reported the guinea pigs’ treatment. Furthermore, the protocols tied to noncompliance were suspended and the university implemented staff retraining and additional supervision.
“The proper care and use of animals in research is of the utmost importance to our faculty, staff and research administration,” Locascio wrote. “We strive for excellence in every aspect of our program, make corrections where needed and engage openly and transparently with federal agencies for the betterment of the animals and research conducted here.”
SAEN’s complaint shows the initial report of noncompliance came from Pamela Lanford, the animal research support director and institutional care and use committee manager. Lanford deferred comment to Locascio and university spokespeople.

Despite the university’s corrective actions, SAEN’s co-founder, Michael Budkie, isn’t satisfied. In a letter to the U.S. agriculture department dated Jan. 24, he called for an immediate investigation.

“Their corrective actions are, in some ways, irrelevant,” Budkie said. “They never should’ve happened in the first place.”

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