The University of Pennsylvania houses as many as 5,000 animals a year at their medical and veterinary schools. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an official warning letter to the University of Pennsylvania for its “failure to establish programs of adequate veterinary care” for some of its research animals. Over a course of three years, reports have stated, that the Ivy League institution may be responsible for up to 115 violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The inspections also noted that, “two dogs had interdigital cysts (often from standing on wire flooring); dirty and algae-filled water containers for four horses, and three gerbil deaths that occurred because of ‘unsuitable sipper tubes.” In another incident at Penn, a newborn puppy was found dead, trapped beneath a floor grate. The puppy had slipped through the grate unnoticed, and an unknown amount of time passed before his death.
The University of Pennsylvania had more than double the amount of violations in comparison to other Ivy League schools. The Agriculture Department, which regulates research facilities that use animals, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found that the eight Ivy League universities had what it called “disturbingly high numbers of Animal Welfare Act violations,” many of which were repeat or severe. Despite these violations, the University of Pennsylvania continues to receive the highest amount of federal research funding among all Ivy League Schools. According to PCRM, University of Pennsylvania received $1.4 billion from the National Institutes of Health since 2008 for researching.
Regardless of these reports, University of Pennsylvania states that, “nothing less than the highest standards for the conduct of research are acceptable at the University of Pennsylvania and we are committed to ensuring that all of our programs continue to meet this standard.” PCRM ranked Princeton University second in its list. According to PCRM reports, at Princeton, inspectors found that “nonhuman primates were routinely forced to go more than 24 hours without water.” At Yale University, inspectors found baboons were burned and blistered when heating pads were substituted for warm water units in an experiment. At Harvard University, a cage was sent through a mechanical cage washer with a primate still inside. He was found dead. Lastly, at Cornell University a primate’s lungs essentially burst when an important valve was not opened during surgery. The animal died of pulmonary hyperinflation.
There are recommendations by numerous animal rights organizations that have requested the USDA to sanction schools for violations such as these. Additionally, animal rights organizations have also requested that the National Institute of Health should decrease or cease funding to institutions that continuously violate standards. Most of the incidents that occur at these institutions are not isolated, and warnings are not influencing universities to improve their facilities or the treatment of their animals. With a decrease in funding, Universities will inevitably be forced to improve their treatment towards animals.
Filed under: animal experimentation, animal law, vivisection Tagged: | animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal experimentation, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, PCRM, University of Pennsylvania, vivisection