USDA Urged to Investigate School’s Animal Welfare Violations
For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2022
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Berkeley, Calif. – After uncovering 12 violations of federal animal welfare guidelines in the University of California–Berkeley’s laboratories via a Freedom of Information Act request, PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging it to cite the university for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
PETA’s complaint focuses on incidents that represent violations of federal animal welfare regulations, including the university’s failure to ensure the safety of a young monkey who suffocated and died after their neck became entangled in a loop of chain. Two guinea pigs died after experimenters erroneously administered an overdose of medicated eye drops during surgery. A monkey who was subjected to experimental brain surgery received an expired analgesic. And in an experiment that wasn’t described in the report, a monkey received expired analgesics on three separate occasions.
Among other incidents, records obtained by PETA document that 30 mice were found with tumors exceeding the university’s own size limits, seven young mice were found alive in a freezer intended for dead animals, and four mice were found in stacked cages that were ready to be put through the high-temperature cage washer. Additionally, experimenters cut into the skulls of mice but failed to provide the animals with postoperative care, which led to their deaths.
“UC-Berkeley apparently can’t be bothered to stop monkeys from choking to death or to make sure that animals receive effective and safe pain relief,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the USDA to investigate before the school’s culture of callousness kills more animals.”
In its letter, PETA notes that UC-Berkeley has a long history of chronic and systemic violations of the federal AWA and USDA fines. Just last year, the USDA reported that a monkey was put on severe water restriction for an entire month, against approved protocol. Two bats died when they were left inside a transport enclosure and weren’t discovered until the following week, a bat in the school’s laboratory was found dead in an enclosure and disposed of by a student before veterinarians could determine a cause of death, and another bat was injured during a monthly colony catch and was unable to fly.