Complaint claims WSU allowed research sheep to suffer
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Dr. Robert Gibbens
Director, Western Region, USDA
[email protected] 
[email protected]

Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against Washington State University for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence allowed two Big Horn Sheep to suffer unnecessarily because they were not euthanized before suffering through a painful death. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


Complaint claims WSU allowed research sheep to suffer

From LewistonTribune, August 7, 2020

An animal rights group has filed a complaint against Washington State University, alleging it allowed two bighorn sheep to suffer before their deaths.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and asked the agency to fine the university $10,000 for each animal.

According to the complaint based on documents the university submitted to the USDA, the animals were part of a herd being used to research a strain of hemorrhagic pneumonia that has devastated wild bighorn sheep herds across the western United States.

After exposure to the illness, researchers observed sheep in captive herds for symptoms of the illness. Those that developed severe cases were euthanized and those with only mild symptoms were monitored. However, the two sheep central to the complaint developed rapid onset of severe illness and died before they could be euthanized.

“WSU’s negligence continues to kill animals regularly,” said Michael A. Budkie, co-founder of the group that has filed several complaints against the university since 2016. “They shouldn’t get away with this.”

Charlie Powell, a spokesman for the College of Veterinary Medicine, said the group targets every major biomedical research university in the country.

“All universities that come under federal regulations for animal research are required to submit these reports and what (Stop Animal Exploitation Now) does and what Mr. Budkie does is he trolls these required reports and turns around and solicits the USDA, the very organization we submit the reports to, that they need to do more and fine all of us,” Powell said.

He called the university’s work with bighorn sheep essential.

“This continued problem with hemorrhagic pneumonia is catastrophic to bighorn sheep herds, and it is essential we continue to find ways to prevent it or treat it.”

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