The animal rights group Eleventh Hour for Animals has filed a federal complaint against the University of Florida alleging a “culture of negligence” in regards to its treatment of lab research animals.
Eleventh Hour waged a two-year legal battle and obtained hundreds of pages of research records that document the treatment of animals at the U.F. lab through 2010. The records contain descriptions of procedures not otherwise available. After reviewing the records the group alleges U.F. violated the Animal Welfare Act in its treatment of Louis, a macaque monkey who was euthanized in 2010.
Karen Kline, senior laboratory investigator for Eleventh Hour said the records show that Louis and other animals were treated in a way that violated the Animal Welfare Act.
There is no happy ending when going through the records of care given to these animals,” she said. “There just is not.”
Eleventh Hour asked for swift, disciplinary action if the allegations are substantiated. That it were otherwise, but in all likelihood nothing will change and the lawsuit will come to naught.
The lab inspection office of the USDA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), claims its inspectors try to visit each lab in the country a minimum of once a year to ensure compliance.
It doesn’t happen. APHIS has been chronically understaffed and underfunded since its inception. APHIS inspections are few and far between and generally superficial. Most “compliance” involves self-reporting by the labs themselves.
Laws protecting research animals are minimal, at best. Things that a private person does to a pet that would be considered animal cruelty and punishable by law, are allowed under the Animal Welfare Act. Once an institution’s Animal Care and Use Committee approves an experiment, it’s a done deal.
The Animal Welfare Act is fatally flawed in that it has no control at all over what happens to an animal in the operating theater.