Animal Conservation

UA cited for animal deaths, PETA sues

The University of Arizona is under renewed scrutiny over its treatment of animals.

Animal rights organization PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – filed a lawsuit with the National Institutes of Health against UA for violating federal animal welfare regulations.

The complaint asks the NIH to investigate two separate incidents in which the United States Department of Agriculture documented the university for inadequate staff training.


Alka Chanda, vice president of laboratory investigations for PETA, sent the complaint letter to the National Institutes of Health. The letter references a USDA inspection report that documents two violations of Public Health Service policies involving the mishandling of animals.

In the first incident, three lambs died after the animal care manager administered an incorrect dose of a solution containing levamisole and other drugs, according to the USDA report. The lambs showed signs of acute toxicity, including muscle tremors, and died within 30 to 60 minutes of receiving the drug.

PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said in a statement that it was “more than seven times the recommended dose” and “shows that the university should not be entrusted with a penny more of taxpayer funding. for animal experiments.

The second incident involved a Mexican free-tailed bat that escaped from the hand of a research staff member and was somehow injured when the individual moved a large shelf looking for her. The bat was euthanized immediately due to the injuries, according to the report.

The conclusion of the USDA inspection report suggested that the underlying problem in both incidents was that the university personnel involved were not properly qualified to handle the animals.

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As an institution that receives funding from public health service agencies, AU is also required to comply with the public health service’s policy on the humane care and use of laboratory animals. PETA alleges that violations of animal welfare law are also violations of PHS policies.

Alka Chandna, vice president of laboratory investigations for PETA, specifically pointed out that institutions receiving federal funding are required to have animal welfare assurance, which is a document that states how the institution intends to adhere to the laws. , guidelines, policies and principles related to the use and treatment of animals.

“In other words, a facility that receives federal funds is expected to train and instruct its employees in the proper care and treatment of animals,” Chandna said.

Guillermo called on the university to “redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methods that will actually help humans,” as well as adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Agreement. According to the organization’s website, the research modernization agreement “develops a strategy to replace the use of animals in experiments with methods relevant to humans.”

Pam Scott, AU Associate Vice President of External Communications, made the following statement to the Daily Wildcat:

“There was an unfortunate incident in which three sheep received incorrect doses of a dewormer. Immediately upon learning of this error, the university followed its procedures in a timely manner and filed a report with the USDA The USDA inspected the facilities and interviewed staff and found no further concerns.The staff involved received additional training to prevent this from happening again.

This isn’t the university’s first rodeo with animal rights groups. On February 24, demonstrators lined up outside the UA College of Medicine to protest the use of live pigs to perform invasive medical procedures in surgical training.

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