Target: William Smith, Assistant Administrator, Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit, United States Department of Agriculture
Goal: Follow up on citations for inhumane euthanasia and incorrect anesthesia
During a routine inspection, the United States Department of Agriculture found serious issues with euthanasia and anesthesia methods in a laboratory at the University of Oklahoma. Dogs were being operated on without proper anesthesia, and euthanized using barbaric and painful methods.
The University of Oklahoma received citations in August for electrocuting spent canine test subjects with a 9 volt shock to the heart. Moreover, injected anesthetic was used during surgery and euthanasia, which has the potential to wear off midway through operations.
These violations are particularly serious due to the high potential for the canine subjects to experience discomfort and suffering. This combination of violations means that a number of dogs could have been subjected to painful operations before an exponentially painful death.
The Ohio State University has established a record for lab animal mistreatment. A former class had students apply heavy weight to the exposed spinal cords of rats, in order to cause acute spinal cord injury and study the effects. Power outages in improperly regulated enclosures have caused the death of nearly 700 animals, while giving animals to facilities that lack proper equipment has caused the death of 7 more.
Ohio State reports a yearly increase in the amount of animal subjects held in their labs. This is in stark contrast to the median standards set by other universities, that show an overall decrease in the amount of live subjects used in favor of humane simulation methods.
The Ohio State University should not be allowed to continue its mistreatment of animals without consequence. Regulatory agencies must step in and ensure that proper humane methods are being observed in the laboratory. Your signature will demand that the United States Department of Agriculture immediately follow up with the university to ensure that the citations have been heeded.
Dear William Smith, Assistant Administrator, Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit, United States Department of Agriculture,
Recent citations show that the Ohio State University is using improper anesthesia and euthanasia methods on canine test subjects. The lab uses injected anesthetic, which is known to wear off quickly during surgical testing, and can allow the subject to feel the pain of the operation. Moreover, the dogs are euthanized with a shock to the heart, which, without proper euthanasia, can be extremely painful.
It is of the utmost importance that scholarly laboratory tests on animals, when necessary, create the least discomfort possible for the subjects. The combination of violations is quite serious and could lead to extreme pain and suffering. I request that you follow up with the university immediately to ensure that proper measures have been implemented.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: usda via Creative Commons