SALT LAKE CITY — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has lodged complaints against the University of Utah alleging animals used for research were accidentally killed or euthanized using unapproved and improper methods.
PETA and Students for Animal Welfare, a university-recognized student organization, filed the complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.
A press release from PETA and Students for Animal Welfare called on the university to "yank the 'privileges' of experimenters that, records show, have caused the suffering and painful deaths of rabbits, lambs, and monkeys in violation of federal animal-welfare guidelines."
The University of Utah did not respond to specific allegations. A statement by a university spokeswoman said the U. is "devoted to ensuring the humane care and use of laboratory animals in our research programs."
Julie Kiefer, the university's manager of science communications, said in the statement that the U."is committed to carrying out exceptional research to advance veterinary and human medicine, health and well-being. We recognize that high-quality science and humane animal care are inseparable, and we are devoted to ensuring the humane care and use of laboratory animals in our research programs.
"Among other stringent measures, a board of experts rigorously reviews each animal study and a devoted team of veterinarians and professional staff monitors every animal, every day. The university takes its responsibilities seriously and self-reports all infractions and implements corrective actions immediately. Although incidents are extremely rare, we are committed to reducing the number to zero and ensuring humane animal care for every research study."
The complaint dated Dec. 20 and filed with the USDA's director of animal welfare pperations alleges:
- Two rabbits suffered a “prolonged” euthanasia;
- A marmoset died post-operatively following significant deviations from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee-approved protocol; and
- A lamb died following an unapproved pulmonary function test.