Yale asked to probe 250 cases of alleged lab animal abuse or neglect

NEW HAVEN — An animal rights group is seeking an independent investigation into what it alleges is “multiple incidents of negligence within the animal experimentation program at Yale University.”

In a letter sent Feb. 10 to Yale President Peter Salovey, the group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! asked for the investigation based on 11 incidents that have allegedly killed or abused more than 250 animals in two years.

“Compared to other universities, that is a high number of animals dying through instances of negligence, particularly when you have a high number of animals dying at one time,” Michael Budkie said Monday.

However, Karen N. Peart, university director of external communications, said in a statement Monday that Yale “takes seriously its responsibility for the appropriate care of animals; our laboratories comply with or exceed all federal regulations and independent accreditation standards.”

“As we continue to advance scientific knowledge and modern medicine, providing hope for millions of patients and their families, Yale scientists will sustain their commitment to the appropriate use of animals in research. Our faculty members employ animals only when there are no alternative models for advancing their research,” Peart said.

Budkie and his wife, Karen Budkie, are co-founders of the group, based in Milford, Ohio.

The totals were drawn from reports Yale is required to submit to the National Institutes of Health whenever there is an incident of neglect, abuse or death of experimental animals. The reports are required because Yale receives federal funds for its research.

“This ongoing pattern of carelessness and negligence not only subjected hundreds of animals to unnecessary cruelty and death, but also raises serious questions regarding the competence of Yale research staff,” Budkie wrote to Salovey.

“For if the staff cannot even be trusted to provide adequate food or water, follow their own protocols, or effectively monitor animals to prevent drowning, suffocation, or hyperthermia, then what does that say about the credibility of animal experimentation at Yale?” the letter stated.

The letters to the NIH included these reports:

A digital controller managing the heating and cooling system failed on March 6, 2017, “resulting in dangerously high humidity and temperature,” causing 90 mice to die or require euthanasia.

On Aug. 4, 2017, lesions were found on the tails of nine mice after they were irradiated and given bone marrow…

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