For most people, the sale of cats and dogs from animal shelters for use
in laboratories seems like a barbaric practice from the distant past—as
it should be. Shockingly, in some states homeless animals are still purchased
from shelters and then used in cruel and painful experiments, even at seemingly
reputable universities. PETA's newest investigation goes undercover inside
the University of Utah to reveal the school's shocking experiments on homeless
of these animals was an affectionate orange tabby cat named Robert. University
of Utah experimenters drilled a hole into his skull and implanted electrodes
in his brain in order to run an electric current through it. The university
also paid a shelter $20 for a skinny black-and-tan German shepherd mix named
Lady. Lady's neck was cut open and a medical device was implanted as part
of a cruel heart experiment. Kittens born to a cat purchased from a shelter
had chemicals injected into their brains. All the kittens died during the
course of the experiment.
experiments, mice were given enormous tumors and monkeys had holes drilled
into their skulls. These monkeys were also kept constantly thirsty so that
they would "cooperate" with experimenters in exchange for a few
drops of water. These are just a few examples of the many instances of cruelty
documented by PETA's undercover investigator at the University of Utah.
is taking swift action by filing formal complaints with the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health alleging violations
of federal law and noncompliance with federally mandated guidelines. We
are also filing a criminal complaint with local law-enforcement officials.
However, as long as any university or company continues to blind, poison,
maim, torture, and kill animals, our job isn't done. PETA—and supporters
like you—are often the only hope for these animals.
be a voice for the animals suffering in laboratories at the University of
Utah. Urge the university to end the use of animals from shelters in its
you for speaking out for animals in laboratories. Your voice makes a difference
to the countless helpless animals who have no voice.
Laboratory Investigations Department
Lake Tribune. 11 November 2009.
PETA spy infiltrates U. animal-research labs, documents alleged suffering.
Research » Group alleges staff, scientists 'consistently' violate
By Brian Maffly And Tony Semerad
U.S. animal-rights organization placed an "undercover investigator"
inside two University of Utah biomedical research facilities, where she
used hidden cameras to record alleged mistreatment of research animals.
Representatives from the Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals (PETA) said they will file formal complaints Wednesday based
on an eight-month probe in which their agent, identified only as LZ, gathered
video, photos and log entries. She worked as an animal support technician
at the U. from Feb. 12 to Oct. 29, and shot "hundreds of hours"
of video inside U. labs, the group says. University officials disputed the
PETA investigator's interpretation of what she saw, arguing she does not
understand animal research. "None of the things she alleges are substantive,"
said Tom Parks, the U.'s vice president for research. "It's a remarkably
banal list of ordinary events in an animal-care facility." PETA officials
will file the complaints with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which
funds much of the U.'s research, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The group alleges scores of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act
and other medical research standards by U. scientists, animal technicians
and research support staff.
complaints, which involve monkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs, cows, pigs, dogs,
cats and kittens, rats, mice and frogs, allege systemic violations at the
U.'s Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute
and the Comparative Medicine Center. PETA also targets the U. oversight
committee responsible for animal research policy, known as the Institutional
Animal Care and Use Committee, or IACUC. PETA leaders contend their evidence
reveals "flagrant disregard" for the animals' well-being and violations
have become "business as usual" at the U. "The ongoing lack
of veterinary care means that animals who were already doomed to live and
die in laboratories are suffering much more than they have to," said
Kathy Guillermo, PETA's vice president over laboratory investigations.
group plans to release video images it says show mice dead from neglect,
dying mice bloated with ulcerated tumors, rabbits and cats with surgically
implanted devices on their heads and spines, and U. lab staff, their faces
blurred, casually describing deplorable conditions for the research animals.
"Betcha if you squeezed that, that would pop," a lab worker says,
holding up a mouse with a bulging abdomen to the camera. "How would
you like to be sitting in a little square box with half your skin missing
and your eyeball hanging out for a week, just shivering in trauma?"
another mouse-lab worker says. The PETA allegations also shed light on a
little-known state "pound seizure'' law that requires government-supported
animal shelters in Utah to hand over animals to authorized researchers upon
request. PETA claims to have identified at least 30 dogs and six cats that
left shelters for use in research. Guillermo will lead a news conference
Wednesday in Salt Lake City, unveiling PETA's allegations that U. employees:
Failed to ensure that experiments minimized discomfort, distress and pain
to the animals. In one case, up to 17 kittens from three litters died or
were euthanized -- with no experiment data generated -- after injections
to induce hydrocephalus.
Discouraged the filing of health status reports to staff veterinarians --
"even when animals were clearly in distress.''
Failed to provide adequate housing and management for animals that, in some
instances, led to unnecessary stress, pain, injury or death.» Failed
to provide minimal enrichment for animals -- companionship for monkeys,
balls for pigs, paper towels for mice -- to reduce emotional stress.
researcher said the monkeys in question are not only housed with companions
and plenty of toys, but they also enjoy their own Netflix account. A flat-screen
television mounted in their room plays nature films and jungle sounds, said
Bradley Greger, an assistant professor of bioengineering named in the PETA
complaint. PETA initiated its investigation of the U. in response to inquiries
from "whistleblowers," according to Guillermo. "I received
calls from three people, who said they were in a position to know, saying
there was terrible suffering," she said. She refused to divulge LZ's
name, but said PETA has employed her regularly to go undercover at other
labs. PETA makes no secret of its agenda to put a stop to the use of animals
in research, even though the research community contends biomedical advances
would slow without animal subjects. Parks blasted PETA's use of a mole who
obtained U. employment under false pretenses. As an employee, she failed
in her obligation to report the alleged problems she witnessed to higher
ups, he noted. "She defrauded the university and if she believed the
animals were mistreated, she did nothing to stop it," he said. One
of the U.'s most vocal critics defended PETA's tactics, given what he claimed
was a lack of cooperation in providing documents to him concerning research
put up obstacles wherever they can to keep the public from knowing what's
going on in their labs,'' said Jeremy Beckham of Utah Primate Freedom. "I
don't think the U. of U. denying our records requests has helped their cause
at all. It's just confirmed that going through the system doesn't work.''
The U. might keep Beckham out of its labs, but it fully cooperates with
monitoring agencies, Parks said. The Department of Agriculture and an international
accrediting body regularly visit the university's research labs and have
issued clean reports on their activities for the last five years, according
to documents provided by the U. "Research is the most heavily regulated
use of animals in our society," Parks said. "We have four full-time
vets who are the ultimate guarantors and experts on care of animals. We
have extensive review of protocols by our IACUC, composed of animal-care
staff and faculty. We monitor protocols with regular inspections. We require
mandatory training of all personnel who work with animals. We follow the
highest level of requirements for certification." University researchers
who receive federal funding are obliged to follow the Public Health Service's
oft-revised "Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals."
filing to NIH documents alleged deviations from this guide, while the Department
of Agriculture complaint documents alleged violations of the Animal Welfare
Act. PETA contends its allegations "represent a larger issue of failed
oversight and institutional noncompliance" warranting immediate investigation
by these federal agencies. If violations are substantiated, PETA insists,
research grants should be revoked, the funding repaid, and offending employees
disciplined and barred from handling animals.