Prime Update: In response to PETA’s undercover investigation of animal experiments at the University of Utah and the complaint that we filed with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U has been cited for nine violations of federal animal protection laws, including the following:
- Causing a kitten to die from dehydration
- Keeping calves restrained for days at a time without the ability to properly stand up or walk
- Failing to provide adequate pain relief to a monkey after surgery
- Failing to properly treat injuries in pigs
- Allowing extreme crowding in guinea pig cages
- Socially isolating a monkey without approval and failing to provide him with proper environmental enrichment
- Performing surgery on a rabbit’s eyes without proper approval
Prompted by complaints filed by PETA after our investigation, USDA representatives inspected the U and found exactly what our investigator had found: neglect, misery, and death in the animal laboratories. The school’s response: Tom Parks, vice president of research, called these incidents of abuse and mistreatment “relatively minor offenses.” Frightening, don’t you think? Imagine if this remark had been made in reference to deaths and neglect in a nursery for human babies! Parks’ casual attitude speaks volumes about exactly how animals are regarded by experimenters and others who have charge, custody, and oversight of animals in laboratories.
Of course, the USDA inspection does not include any incidents that we reported involving rats and mice because these animals are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act—the only federal law governing the treatment of animals in laboratories. Of course, rats and mice feel pain, fear, hunger, and thirst just as do all mammals, including humans.