Animal deaths prompt call for UCSF researchers to stop animal testing

An animal rights group accusing UC San Francisco research staff of protocol breaches is calling for researchers connected to incidents in which at least three laboratory animals have died to be banned from animal testing.

In a letter penned to UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood on Wednesday, Ohio-based group SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation Now) demanded administrative action against researchers involved in procedures that resulted in the death of one pig and two voles, a rodent similar to a mouse.

“We feel that in the two instances …[the researchers] flouted the authority of the UCSF administration that they should no longer be allowed to perform experiments on animals,” Michael Budkie, the group’s co-founder, said Wednesday.

The group is pressing the UCSF administration for action following a routine visit of U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors to UCSF labs on July 26, during which the animals’ deaths were noted. The inspectors reviewed reports compiled by UCSF’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and found that three UCSF principal investigators carried out procedures “that did not conform to their approved protocols.”

A statement published by UCSF about the violations notes the university’s own veterinarians and other staff first documented the incidents, and that “all three principal investigators who conducted these unapproved procedures had already received corrective actions from the IACUC before the July 26 inspection.”

According to the USDA inspection report, a pig was euthanized in July following a steam ablation procedure, an alternative to surgery, after its gallbladder was infused with 50 times the amount of steam allowed.

In a second incident, two voles were euthanized after an unapproved cranial surgery.

“It’s like someone driving a car — if they get a DUI and killed someone, they would not be allowed to drive a car again,” Budkie said. “They failed to follow the law, they caused unnecessary deaths.”

In August, SAEN filed a complaint with the USDA asking that the maximum allowable fine — $10,000 per infraction per animal — be issued against the university.

Andre Bell, a spokesperson for USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, which is tasked with citing facilities for noncompliance with the federal standards, said the department is aware of the complaint.
“We take this very seriously and we are looking into the allegations,” he said.

A UCSF spokesperson could not confirm whether Hawgood was aware of the group’s call for a permanent ban on animal testing by the three principal investigators involved in the incidents.

Laura Waxmann
Published by
Laura Waxmann

Recent Posts

Affordable homes, not developer giveaways

In a recent op-ed published in the Examiner, Corey Smith, the paid Campaign Organizer for the citywide advocacy group for…

10 mins ago

Affordable housing plans at shipyard move forward despite concerns over radioactive contamination

The City is forging ahead with plans to develop a 28,792 square-foot site on Parcel A at the Hunters Point…

10 mins ago

SF Preps Football: Mountain View-St. Francis batters St. Ignatius

By Daniel Sheedy Special to S.F. Examiner MOUNTAIN VIEW -- With both teams coming off a bye week and looking…

55 mins ago

Khris Davis hits two homers, including walk-off blast, in 7-6 Oakland Athletics win

By Alex Hall Special to S.F. Examiner OAKLAND -- Oakland Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis already had the most home…

2 hours ago

A’s open final home series of 2018 against Twins

By Alex Hall Special to S.F. Examiner AKLAND — The Oakland Athletics have enjoyed an incredible 2018 season, with 92…

7 hours ago

Shooting victim drives himself to SFGH

A victim with a gunshot wound drove himself to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital’s front door Friday afternoon shortly after…

7 hours ago