Animal Suffering, Death at Baylor College of Medicine Prompt Urgent Plea

PETA Calls For Termination of Attending Veterinarian, Disbanding of Oversight Body in the Wake of 41 Animal Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
September 16, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Houston – Armed with damning federal documents revealing chronic violations of minimal animal welfare provisions at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), PETA sent a letter this morning to the school’s president requesting that he take action to protect animals by removing the current attending veterinarian, Rebecca Schwiebert, and replacing the members of BCM’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

From January 1, 2018, to January 31, 2019, alone, BCM reported 41 incidents that violated animal welfare provisions, including ones in which mice who’d been subjected to invasive experimental surgeries weren’t given adequate analgesics, experimenters failed to follow procedures to prevent contamination while performing surgery on mice and piglets, and two rabbits died after an anesthetic machine was improperly assembled. Mice who were subjected to craniotomies (incisions into the skull) weren’t given appropriate analgesics, a mouse started to regain consciousness in the middle of experimental surgery because the nose cone delivering anesthetics hadn’t been fitted properly, and two others were left to languish with acrylic on their bodies at the point of death, hunched over and moving slowly. Mice were also subjected to toe amputations that were either unapproved or carried out without anesthetics.

“It’s unacceptable for animals to be suffering and dying at the hands of careless experimenters and uncaring management at Baylor,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “Shoddy practices start at the top and trickle down, which is why PETA is calling on the school to remove those responsible for this cruelty from their posts and appoint people who will actually obey regulations and guidelines.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—notes that these incidents run counter to Schwiebert’s oath to protect animals’ health and prevent and relieve animal suffering and go against the BMC IACUC’s legally mandated responsibilities.

PETA’s letter to President Paul Klotman, M.D., is available upon request. The group opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind