Target: Kara Gavin, university spokesperson
Goal: Improve animal welfare at university laboratory
The University of Michigan is currently being investigated for four animal rights violations. If found to be in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, the university will be forced to pay fines, but this might not be enough to change the inhumane methods used at the university. The issue must gain widespread public attention in order to pressure the university to improve its research practices.
Amongst the offenses being investigated is the tragic strangulation of a primate that was supposedly left alone with a toy in its cage. Additionally, there were other incidents involving an unauthorized surgery and a hamster that escaped its cage and drowned.
Michael Budkie, co-founder of the organization that filed complaints against the university, stated, ”It’s very clear that these incidents are violations of the Animal Welfare Act.” If the USDA finds the lab guilty it could owe up to $40,000 in fines, but a decision has not yet been made.
A spokesperson for the university explained that the incidents were self-reported to the NIH, meaning they were not trying to cover up or deny the mistakes. Nonetheless, these incidents collectively suggest that the university is not properly caring for animals and should be monitored accordingly. Sign this petition to ensure the University of Michigan research lab does not continue its negligence.
Dear Kara Gavin,
The fact that several potential Animal Welfare Act violations occurred in the 2012-2013 school year shows that this lab is not taking adequate care of its animals. Regardless of whether or not these incidents were accidental, it is still crucial that research practices be looked into and improved on a broad scale.
With nearly 250,000 animals being kept at the University of Michigan research lab, adequate care is a significant challenge and should be a high priority. This is not the first time the USDA has looked into research operations at the university. While the university may be forced to pay large fines, this does not directly impact the researchers who work in the lab.
What matters is not whether punishment fines are accrued, but whether the lab is working to upgrade animal care. Researchers should be re-trained and then fired if there is any further failure to comply with animal welfare laws. The researchers and those in charge of the lab should be personally held accountable for negligence and taught why ethical treatment is mandatory. Please refine your animal care policies in order to ensure these unfortunate incidents do not happen again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jpockele via Flickr