Scalded, Drowned, Dehydrated: Incompetence Kills Animals at OHSU

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3 min read

While there is already a mountain of evidence pointing to the routine violence, incompetence, and disregard inside the laboratories of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), PETA has uncovered yet more animal suffering inside OHSU’s horrible animal prisons.

Incompetence kills animals at OHSU

Federal reports obtained by PETA reveal flagrant and ongoing violations of federal animal welfare guidelines and show that OHSU experimenters and staff, including those at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), are clearly incapable of providing the monkeys and other animals they hold with even the most basic protections. It’s time they were held to account.

OHSU boasts that its laboratories “transform science every day,”  yet federal records show that the same people it lauds in those laboratories have done the following:

  • Failed to notice that a monkey had escaped during the transfer of two monkeys to a different enclosure (The young monkey became trapped between a wall and a row of cages and died.)
  • Failed to notice that two monkeys had been locked inside a cage destined for a high-temperature washing machine, where they were exposed to 180-degree temperatures and scalded to death
  • Botched a brain surgery, cutting into a marmoset’s skull improperly (The monkey was then deprived of veterinary care for days and developed a brain infection. In 2020, another monkey suffered the same fate.)
  • Killed 12 mice after failing to seat a cage properly, causing a water valve leak that flooded the cage and drowned every mouse inside it
  • Allowed four mice to die of dehydration after failing to notice that they had no access to water
  • Denied a monkey pain medication and antibiotics
  • Failed to administer a second dose of pain medication during a cerebral spinal fluid collection from 12 monkeys

OHSU experiments on monkeys exposed by PETA

OHSU can’t even keep its own experimenters corralled, records show.

Several experimenters deviated from the protocols previously approved by the university’s own committee charged with ensuring compliance with minimal welfare standards for animals used in experiments that cause pain and almost always end in the animals’ death. One experimenter had two protocols suspended after numerous recurring incidents of noncompliance. They were later reinstated.

Records show that a ferret was euthanized after an experimental brain surgery went awry, causing “unexpected anatomical complications,”  which were not further identified. The same experimenter used unapproved methods and improper materials to carry out euthanasia, stored sterile supplies in unsterile containers, failed to document training of laboratory staff, and failed to assure occupational health compliance. The experimenter also failed to maintain veterinary records or notify veterinary staff as directed by protocol when animals were in need of veterinary care.

There is no reason for a single one of these painful incidents, many of them deadly, to have occurred, except that the culture inside OHSU laboratories—which have received more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health since 2018—apparently foments a callous disregard for both animals and the rules.

OHSU must begin taking the issue seriously and institute a zero-tolerance policy for experimenters and their staff who fail to comply with animal welfare regulations or directives from veterinary staff—as well as a zero-tolerance policy for staff who fail to provide animals with food, water, or appropriate shelter.

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