Target: Sandra Boehm, Safety Coordinator at University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Lab
Goal: Demand more humane practices from university research lab
The University of Wisconsin-Madison was recently fined $35,000 for seven animal rights violations in their research lab. This issue must receive widespread attention so that university researchers do not harm lab animals again in the future.
Cases of animal abuse at the lab include a cat was burned and a dog that was euthanized without the authorization of the supervising veterinarian. The university has received a total of 44 citations since 2007, yet the United States Department of Agriculture will not even be pursuing the majority of them. The university was simply offered a deal, a $35,000 penalty instead of the $70,000 that they rightfully owed.
The fine was said to be one of the largest research laboratory fines ever accumulated. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals laboratory investigator Justin Goodman called for a cut in research funding until the university programs could be re-evaluated and deemed acceptable.
This was not an accidental or one-time offense. The laboratory workers fostered an ongoing abusive atmosphere for at least a span of several years, and in the end, no individuals were held accountable. The University of Wisconsin-Madison must be told to follow the standard practices for animal safety, if not by the USDA, then by the public. Urge the university to end their abusive practices against animals.
Dear Sandra Boehm,
The recent animal rights violations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are a disappointment and a sad representation of U.S. research. We hope that as a Safety Coordinator, you will help spread this message to the other research departments. While the University was forced to pay a large fine, it is far more important that researchers understand the concept of humane treatment. Through whatever means necessary, these violations must be permanently stopped and prevented in the future.
As if these 44 animal welfare violations aren’t insulting enough, the university was simply given the option to pay off the injustices like debt. An institution should not be able to pay their way out of animal cruelty charges while hiding behind a proud university reputation. However, this is the way such cases work. As a show of good faith, the institution should take voluntary steps to show that animal cruelty is behind them. As one of the largest research institutions in the nation, it is your responsibility to start respecting your research subjects if the university itself is to ever be respected.
The individual researchers responsible for the abuse incidents should be terminated. We ask that you reassess your employees and the standards at your institution, and retrain individuals if necessary. Please share and enforce this message so that animal welfare violations never happen again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Chris huh via Wikimedia