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Lousy Treatment of Animals in Lab Costs U. of Kansas 62,500 Dollars

Written by PETA | July 14, 2010
Animals in laboratories are often kept in barren cages. This monkey was observed during PETA’s investigation into Covance.

Business as usual at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) has just cost the university a whopping $62,500. That’s what KUMC has agreed to pay in fines after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found 160 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. This means that KUMC has the distinction of forking over one of the highest settlements ever paid by a laboratory for violating animal protection regulations.

But the cost for the animals was much higher. Monkeys at KUMC were so traumatized that they pulled out their own hair and paced their cages ceaselessly—which is what monkeys do when they’re forced to live in tiny, barren spaces without anything to do day after day, year after year, and when the lab staff can’t be bothered to provide the psychological enrichment that’s required by law. Animals were also denied adequate veterinary care and even pain relief after surgery.

The USDA’s citations also confirmed what we uncovered about KUMC last year: Experimenters weren’t even providing an adequate rationale for using animals, as the law requires. PETA filed a complaint last December with university officials because KUMC still cuts up pigs for surgery practice, even though more sophisticated non-animal methods are available. Nearly every other medical school in America, including Harvard and Stanford, ended the use of animals long ago for a very good reason: Practicing human surgery on animals is kind of like learning to fly a jet by riding a bicycle.

In April, PETA asked the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds many of the animal experiments at the university, to demand a refund of thousands of dollars of grant money that had been spent on experiments that violate federal regulations. There’s still no word on whether NIH plans to add to KUMC’s fiscal woes.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    GracieF PETA asked that the NIH request reimbursement for “experiments that violate federal regulations” which insinuates that the experiments themselves were illegalnot that there was deviation from protocol. Considering that the NIH is supposed to review the rationale and protocol for each experiment prior to funding the only way to conduct an “experiment that violates federal regulations” is to conduct an experiment that has not been approved by the NIH using NIH money which yes does happen on occasion with researchers who like to fund new research by getting grants for experiments which they’ve already conducted successfullybut in my experience this generally doesn’t include experiments which violate federal animal welfare laws. In my experience most violations occur out of the lab in the animal care facility in which flagrant violations are supposed to result in the NIH and other grantors denying any further funding to the associated institution. The remainder of the violations generally occur as a result of inexperienced individuals working without proper supervision and oldschool researchers not keeping up with current policies. For the most part I’m just taking issue with how everything’s being tossed in together to make the university sound like it’s totally heinous when in reality they’ve probably just got an animal care center that positioned 120 cages improperly committed some other violations because the staff wasn’t well trained and had a rogue researcher who let his semitrained graduate students operate on a bit too long of a leash which would account for the “didn’t give proper pain relief” variety of violation. Plus I can’t imagine anyone ever “denying” an animal pain relief after a surgeryforgetting maybe but not denying. I mean what kind of person can actually say “No.” to a request like “This animal is clearly in pain can we give him something?” when analgesics are dirt cheap in comparison to everything else we use?

  • GracieF says:

    Kalama You ask why NIH would demand a refund for experiments they approved. The answer is pretty simple NIH would demand monies be returned because that’s NIH’s policy. NIH grant monies cannot according to NIH policy be used toward activities where the use of animals deviated from the protocol approved by the institutional oversight committee for example if the experimenter failed to provide the required anesthesia or analgesia or failed to monitor an animal after an invasive surgery or used an unapproved method to kill the animal at the end of the experiment. If such deviations do occur and they occur with shocking regularity monies have to be returned to NIH. It’s about applying the minimal regulations and guidelines that govern the treatment of animals in laboratories to the people who feed from the public trough and take taxpayer dollars to use animals in experiments that are sometimes painful and invasive and are almost always deadly.

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    Why would the NIH demand a refund for studies that they approved? They review the protocols and it would be their fault if they approved an experiment that violated federal regulations. And why people keep trying to mix up surgical practice with research is beyond me. No it’s no longer considered practical to carry out most surgical training using animals. However scientific research using animals is still prevalent yes even at Harvard and Stanford…heck Harvard licenses out their name to a company that sells all sorts of equipment used exclusively in animal research. and no I have no desire to defend any university that violates animal care laws…KUMC likely deserves the fine but it has little to do with the validity of research