Lawsuit alleging animal welfare violations by UCSF dismissed

A San Francisco Superior Court judge today threw out a lawsuit alleging the University of California at San Francisco illegally uses public funds to conduct animal experiments that violate a federal animal welfare law.

Five doctors and psychologists sued the university, seeking an injunction barring the allegedly improper research until the university can guarantee compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act.

The plaintiffs, members of the Washington D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, included UC San Diego medical professor Larry Hansen and psychologist Pia Salk.

The lawsuit claimed that procedures including drilling holes in monkeys’ skulls were carried out without adequate measures to reduce stress and provide nutrition for the animals.

The Animal Welfare Act is enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Judge Patrick Mahoney this morning approved a motion by attorneys for the university to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling that state courts could not halt the university’s research activities or appoint independent oversight of the lab.

“I don’t think that’s what Congress intended [under the Animal Welfare Act],” Mahoney said.

Attorneys for the PCRM said they intend to appeal the ruling.

— Bay City News

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