Federal agency looks into animal welfare complaints against Oklahoma State University

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Tell the USDA to levy a HUGE FINE against Oklahoma State University for murdering a rabbit with a .22 caliber rifle.

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http://www.stwnewspress.com/news/federal-agency-looks-into-animal-welfare-complaints-against-oklahoma-state/article_ac73f196-9833-11e4-90ed-2f2bfb79c6f3.html

Federal agency looks into animal welfare complaints against Oklahoma State University

By Chris Day, STWNewsPress.com, Friday, January 9, 2015 

The Department of Agriculture is determining if an investigation is warranted after an Oklahoma State University employee used a .22-caliber rifle to euthanize a rabbit under veterinary treatment, and a dog was run over and killed during an out-of-state military training exercise, said Tanya Espinosa, agency public affairs specialist.

An animal rights group filed a complaint with the federal agency in late December. Friday, Espinosa said the agency was looking into possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The agency's first step is to determine if an investigation is needed. Then, it will determine what actions, if any, are required. Those actions range from a warning letter and increased inspections to fines.

Ohio-based Stop Animal Explotation Now Executive Director Michael A. Budkie said the organization filed its complaint after it learned of the dog and rabbit deaths at OSU.

"Negligence at Oklahoma State University has allowed animals to suffer and die horribly," Budkie said. "Evidence now clearly demonstrates a long-term pattern of serious Animal Welfare Act violations. This lab deserves the maximum penalty from the USDA."

Oklahoma State University immediately reported the failure to follow euthanasia protocols to the U.S. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, University spokesman Gary Shutt said. The incident happened in August.

Officials addressed the issue with the employee and re-trained the employee and other staff members, he said.

The dog was owned by a private company that trained animals for military and security roles. The dog was unrestrained and hit and killed by a vehicle driven by a company employee. The company fired the employee for not following its protocols.

Oklahoma State University was conducting a heat and exercise study on the animals when the incident happened in August.

Officials addressed the issue with the employee and re-trained the employee and other staff members, he said.

In 2013, the university was cited in 2013 for the dehydration deaths of 14 voles after OSU failed to provide adequate water for the animals.

The university supports the use of animals for research, testing and teaching, Shutt said.

"All research, teaching and testing activities involving live, vertebrate animals at OSU are in accordance with internationally accepted guidelines for animal care. In addition, OSU is fully complaint with federal and state laws and regulations," Shutt said. 

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