SAEN again calls for investigation of UMD amid report of more bat deaths

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Please contact the USDA to insist on a major fine for University of Maryland for the negligence which killed multiple bats.

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer
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SAEN again calls for investigation of UMD amid report of more bat deaths

By Talia Richman,, Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A watchdog group filed a second complaint against this university Monday, alleging further violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which led to more bat deaths.

Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate an incident that occurred last year in which several bats died after not receiving their prescribed medication, said Julia Orr, SAEN spokeswoman.

“I was really surprised there was another issue dealing with the same species of animals and the same thing: neglect,” Orr said. “I’m really hoping the USDA and the university take it seriously.”

The first SAEN complaint against this university, filed Sept. 15, revolved around the deaths of six bats because of dehydration in February 2013. There have been no updates with that case.

In this new complaint, the university’s attending veterinarian prescribed treatment to a colony of bats after it displayed a higher mortality rate than normal, according to a USDA inspection report obtained by SAEN through the Freedom of Information Act.

Research staff received the directions for dispensing treatments Dec. 20, but bats did not receive treatment until Jan. 7. This delay caused additional bats to die, according to the report.

“The dates where the treatments weren’t given to the bats, resulting in them dying, was over Christmas,” she said.

According to the USDA report, the incident was a result of miscommunication.

As in the other complaint, SAEN is asking for the USDA to impose the maximum fine of $10,000 per animal death.

The incident was self-reported to the USDA, and steps were taken to remedy the issue, according to a statement by university Chief Research Officer Patrick O’Shea.

“We regret the incidents involving bats that were housed on our campus. Appropriate actions were taken even before we self-reported this incident,” O’Shea wrote. “Animal care takes the utmost priority at both the federal and University level, and the University is taking important steps to prevent regrettable incidents like these in the future.”

But Orr said SAEN is not seeing enough change in university laboratories.

“The University of Maryland is obviously negligible in its caring of laboratory animals. You can’t have two such similar issues just accidentally,” she said. “This has to be a major problem in the labs with communication and proper care. The university really needs to pay attention to this and figure out what kind of misinformation is going on between the staff.”

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