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UW-Madison Fined for Animal Rights Violations in Research

This month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison entered into a settlement agreement resulting in a fine of $35,286.

by University of Wisconsin-Madison
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That agreement followed an investigation started in 2010 that yielded seven citations related to the Animal Welfare Act and animal care and use on the UW-Madison campus dating to 2009.

Those citations included:

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  • Two directly related to animal welfare.
  • Issues related to housing and facilities such as peeling paint and broken light clips.
  • The presence of expired drugs.
  • Failure to report an adverse event to an attending veterinarian.

One of the citations issued to the university by USDA involved the case of a gerbil that fell ill and needed to be euthanized.Photo credit: Rebroad, Wikimedia CommonsThe citations were issued after USDA review of records or direct observation by USDA veterinary medical officers, or after being self-reported by the university. All of the issues pertaining to the citations were addressed at the time they were found or during subsequent program reviews.

UW-Madison procedures and policies have been adjusted to directly address the identified issues in an ongoing effort to minimize risk to animals used in important lines of research.

“We acknowledge our responsibility for the care and well-being of the animals used in scientific research,” says Eric Sandgren, a UW-Madison professor of veterinary medicine and director of the university’s Research Animal Resources Center.

Sandgren adds: “We strive to have a top-notch, error-free program. We don’t accept situations that could potentially put animals at undue risk or undermine our critical research mission, but we recognize that they sometimes will occur given the size and complexity of our research landscape. We seek to eliminate errors whenever possible and will continue work to ensure they do not cause any animal harm.”

For background on the use of animals in research at UW-Madison, see the Animals in Research and Teaching website.