Madison, Wisc. Sometime between October 15, 2010, and mid-November the USDA Enforcement Division – that has been on campus investigating the multiple problems with animal use oversight at the university, for what seems like a very long time now – informed the university that they are widening their investigation.
On November 12, Robert Streiffer, Chair of the College of Letters and Sciences Animal Care and Use Committee reported to the All Campus Animal Care and Use Panel that another deer mouse pup was found in a cage in a cage-washer room.
Campus Veterinarian Janet Welter reported that yet again, there have been “some trends of inconsistent compliance” regarding NIH select agent regulations and BSL-3 protocols. Biosafety level 3 is required when the agent being studied poses a public health risk if it escapes from the lab. The university has a history of failing to adequately regulate such research on and off campus.
Another of Michelle Basso’s monkeys dislodged a recording cylinder screwed to his/her skull which was replaced. Veterinarian Kevin Brunner from the primate center provided advice on the surgery.
Veterinarians applying to work with the animals being experimented on at the university continue to turn down job offers from the university. I'm sure this means that they will end up with a top quality vet.
On November 15, many months after again being cited by the USDA for failing to ensure that vivisectors are considering alternatives to painful and distressful procedures, the Graduate School ACUC continued to struggle with how this could be accomplished.
The same committee continued to wonder why a monkey had died from a spinal tap.
The same committee learned that mutant mice particularly prone to distress died (of fright?) when a fire alarm sounded. (Don’t tell Ned Kalin or local little-love-for-all-beings guru Richie Davidson about these fearful mice.)
Between September 7 and September 9, a monkey was left unfed when a “Do not feed” sign was left on his/her cage.
On October 4, after having a hole cut in his/her skull and a “cranial pedestal” screwed into place, a monkey had seizures for four days and finally died, in spite of the efforts of primate center vet Saverio Buddy Capuano III, who tried to save him/her so he/she could be used in a series of experiments and then killed.
On October 11, “Biochemistry animals” were found dead in their cages with no food. Animal care staff were “retrained.”
An entire colony of mice (probably owned by a pharmaceutical) was “rederived” (a euphemism for killed and replaced) when mouse parvo virus was detected in two of the mice.
Vet Lisa Krugner-Higby reported that “poor mothering” had led to unexpected high mortality in some secret building.
She also reported that a cage of “weanlings” was found dead. Their watering tube was calcified and blocked. They died of thirst.
Dr. Messing reported on another cage of adult females of some disclosed species that had been left without food for several days. He opined that “retraining” would be necessary. (Lesson one for the “highly trained” staff: Feed the animals every day.)
On December 3, Dr. Collins shared the news that a turtle (probably a tortoise, but you can’t expect them to know the difference) had been sent to the Research Animal Resource Center for an autopsy without having had his/her head cut off first. Instead, his/her brain had been severed from his/her spine (decerebrated). Apparently, an argument had ensued as to whether the “turtle” was dead on arrival.
Dr. Sunde of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) reported that yet another steam valve malfunction led to “some mouse deaths.”
And finally, Dr. Benevenga, also of CALS, reported that yet another (unnamed) researcher was not caring for her animals.
And the beat goes on ....