PETA, fresh off claiming a victory over NASA about monkey experiments, has a new target in its sights: The University of Texas medical branch in Galveston.
PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging "abuse and neglect of animals housed and used in experiments at UTMB facilities."
"Being burned and cut open in experiments is upsetting enough, but if animals are also being denied basic care and pain relief, UTMB must answer to the law," PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo said."We're calling on the USDA to launch an immediate investigation, protect the animals, and hold UTMB accountable if these very serious allegations of animal abuse are borne out."
The group says a whistleblower has reported several incidents:
-- [An experimenter] subjected sheep, pigs and mice to third-degree burns on up to 40 percent of their bodies using a Bunsen burner or scorching-hot metal rod and forced the animals to inhale smoke.
-- UTMB faculty members cut open dogs and surgically implanted tubes into their colons. One dog died during surgery, and another suffered in pain following surgery when staff didn't provide painkillers. The dog later died.
-- UTMB experimenters induced spinal cord and nerve damage in sheep. One sheep couldn't stand for three days following the surgery and was given no pain relief.
-- One sheep suffered a broken leg and trauma so severe that it caused the animal's intestines to penetrate her chest cavity.
-- A highly social macaque monkey was kept alone in a steel cage and denied contact with other nonhuman primates in violation of the law.
-- Mice died of dehydration after staff failed to notice that the animals did not have access to water.
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We asked UTMB for reaction and they issued this statement:
As a leading research institution committed to advancing the treatment and prevention of illness and injury, UTMB strives to adhere to the highest ethical standards and to follow all federal, state and campus regulations in every aspect of its research enterprise. Our animal facilities are regularly inspected and approved by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, the US Department of Agriculture,
the National Institutes of Healthand the institution's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Read the complaint: