UCLA Animal Welfare Violations Hidden From Federal Inspectors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2013 

UCLA ANIMAL WELFARE VIOLATIONS HIDDEN FROM FEDERAL INSPECTORS

LOS ANGELES, CA—A report released yesterday reveals that UCLA has been cited multiple times for violating federal animal welfare laws. The report, Nothing to Hide: Animal welfare violations University of California Los Angeles, August 2010 – December 2012, exposes a pattern of animal welfare violations at UCLA.

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UCLA was cited eight times between mid 2010 and 2012 for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a federal law that protects some animals used in experiments. The AWA is the only federal law that protects the welfare of animals used in experiments, including species such as cats, dogs, monkeys and rabbits. Most animals used in experiments, such as mice and rats, are not protected under this law.

The violations ranged from infractions of basic research protocol to major violations that put human health and animal welfare at risk. Among the most serious violations, was UCLA’s refusal to allow federal inspectors to check on animal welfare during experiments and performing surgeries on monkeys in rooms that do not adequately prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. The report also highlights that UCLA receives much of its money from public tax-payer dollars, receiving an estimated $200 million per year in tax-payer funding from a single federal granting agency for experiments involving animals.

This report was compiled by the Los Angeles group Progress for Science, which is focused on protecting monkeys used in experiments. According to Dr. Carol Glasser, the groups co-founder, “Regardless of how one feels about the need or efficacy of animal experimentation, no one wants the animals who are used to suffer needlessly. We are concerned about what UCLA is hiding behind closed doors and we worry that it might be quite bad if UCLA is willing to openly disregard and violate federal laws and refuse to let government inspectors even check on the welfare of animals.”

Some of the violations at UCLA uncovered by the report:

  • Lab personnel blocked federal inspectors from an animal study area and lied to federal authorities as to the nature of the area’s use.
  • A primate surgery room and rodent surgery room were found to be in a state of disrepair and filth, necessary equipment was both broken and missing, and other health risks were present.
  • The director of Surgical Services did not know which surgery rooms were positive-pressure and which were negative-pressure, a distinction necessary to properly prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.
  • Surgery was preformed on a monkey in a room not adequately prepared to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Areas where animals’ food was stored were infested with cockroaches.
  • The number of animals used in experiments at UCLA has been increasing since 2010 and includes not only mice, rats, cats, dogs and monkeys, but also bobcats, zebras, and other wild animals.

According to report co-author, Cory Mac a’Ghobhainn: “The citations incurred by UCLA demonstrate a notable lack of professionalism and an appalling disregard for the animals under their care. They also show a degree of indifference to the AWA itself and the inspectors charged with enforcing compliance. It is as though they are not very concerned whether they are cited or not.”

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Progress for Science is coalition of alumni and taxpayers opposed to the use of nonhuman primates in research experiments at UCLA. www.ProgressForScience.com

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