UCLA has been accused of animal abuse after two rabbits and a pig died in their research labs. Animal rights group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) claims the research lab violated animal welfare law, but the university was quick to deny the claims.
The group said they obtained an unpublished report from campus that found several animals developed encephalitis, which is the inflammation of active brain tissue caused by infection. The group says this was due to negligence.
According to the group, the report states that on May 10, 2021, two rabbits “died prematurely. The first rabbit was suspected of choking on its food as our lab’s autopsy showed food pellets in the airways. … Second rabbit, died during the operation. The premature death was attributed to the anesthetics used by the DLAM.
The report also discusses the pig that died in the labs and the disease that a second contracted.
“We had 2 cases in which our pigs contracted some form of encephalitis or neurological problems, one pig died suddenly, while the other recovered a few days later.”
This isn’t the first time the animal rights group has accused a university of animal abuse. Last year, they filed a lawsuit against the University of Southern California, claiming unauthorized personnel amputated the ears of mice unrelated to experiments, stabbed the necks of pigs in operations surgery and overdosed mice with painkillers which resulted in their death.
SAEN filed a complaint with the USDA seeking a federal fine of $10,000 per violation per animal. The federal complaint alleges the deaths violated federal law and numerous federal regulations on animal handling, veterinary care, feeding, trained personnel and more.
SAEN co-founder Michael Budkie said in a statement:
“Any lab that allows one project’s animals to develop encephalitis and kills another with faulty anesthesia should not be trusted to perform scientific procedures. The so-called “scientific” data from UCLA animals are not to be trusted.”
UCLA told City News Service they disagree with the group’s claims.
“We disagree with SAEN’s characterization of these events. As always, we will cooperate fully with any investigation by outside regulatory agencies,” said Bill Kisliuk, director of media relations at UCLA.
“At UCLA, the Animal Research Committee is responsible for overseeing an animal program involving approximately 950 protocols for over 400 different principal investigators. Despite the complex nature of this program, we are proud to report that unforeseen issues such as these are infrequent. When they do occur, they are promptly investigated and changes to procedures are implemented if necessary. »
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