The University of Washington Receives Fines for Animal Abuse in Medical Research Labs
Many medical schools use monkeys every year as test subjects in their labs as part of an effort to advance medical knowledge. The Department of Agriculture inspects these facilities every year to prevent problems from occurring, and when problems do occur, they have to power to take action.
One school that seems to be having a lot of interventions from the Department of Agriculture is the University of Washington. Within the past five years, one monkey has died of malnutrition and two others were kept in cages that were too small for them. A scientist at the school was also fined because he performed too many surgeries on the same monkeys. In total, the school had to pay $10,893 in fines this year, and if there are repeat violations, the school will face much stricter fines.
“[The Department of Agriculture] finally got along to levying a fine which is $10,000 and the University gets millions of dollars in research money, so this is just a little drop in their bucket,” said Rachel Bjork of the Northwest Animal Rights Network. “They like to say they are doing groundbreaking research. They like to say they’re saving lives but I’m trying to understand the connection between sticking coils in a monkey’s eyes and saving a human life.”
Those are some pretty biting words, but I do agree with Bjork. Here’s what the University of Washington had to say concerning the matter:
“The University of Washington takes great care to ensure that their animals are healthy and well-maintained. Any time there is an unexpected death of a research animal, the UW reports the incident to the USDA and provides full disclosure. Our goal is to provide advances in medical care and treatment. The USDA recently visited the UW and found no deficiencies in its animal care program.”
The University of Washington isn’t the only school that has been investigated recently by the USDA, concerning primate research. Oregon Health Science University was recently investigated, and Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Princeton have received fines for animal deaths that occurred in their facilities.