SAEN LogoAnimal welfare group says UI cows 'didn't have to die'
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Contact USDA to DEMAND MAX FINE against University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer, Director, USDA, Eastern Region
[email protected]
[email protected]


Please levy the MAXIMUM FINE against University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UI), for their blatant disregard of the Animal Welfare Act when their negligence killed five cows. It is unconscionable that a university that includes a veterinary college would allow non-sterile surgery to be performed and then would fail to provide adequate care, leading to unnecessary suffering and death for these cows. Their behavior should NOT be tolerated and MUST be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The time is NOW to send a clear message with stiff penalties to these renegade, negligent facilities that these behaviors will NOT be tolerated!  

Animal welfare group says UI cows "didn't have to die"
By Abby Llorico,, September 15, 2015

Members of a watchdog group say some animals didn't have to die. Now, they want those at the UI held responsible.

Five cows died after operations at the vet-med college. The students were getting a lesson in surgery. School officials say these types of surgery are always risky.

These weren't client animals. They were purchased specifically for classroom use, but an animal rights group says the school didn't do all it could to keep them safe.

"None of this should ever have happened."

Michael Budkie says the university could have saved the five cows. He's the director of the Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN.

"The USDA cited them for violating the Animal Welfare Act."

During an inspection of the vet-med facilities, the USDA found the school was negligent in the teaching operations. According to the inspection report, the animals had been operated on in a prep area rather than a surgical suite.

That room, along with the students involved in the surgery, weren't as clean as they should have been. The report goes on to say this all played a part in infections which led to four euthanasias and one death.

University spokesperson Robin Kaler says this type of surgery "carries a higher risk of infection, but is an essential skill for a practitioner."

The USDA report goes on to cite the university for not properly monitoring the cows following the operations, which Budkin says should be the goal of the veterinarians there.

"Wherever these surgeries were performed, not only were they performed in a way that allowed these animals to develop what was essentially a fatal infection, the university is also cited for not providing adequate, post-operative care."

Kaler also added, "In an actual veterinary practice, this type of surgery likely would be conducted in a barn and not in an animal hospital."

"These animals did not have to die and the University of Illinois needs to be held responsible for doing this."

Now, SAEN wants the University of Illinois to pay for it.

"Not administering the drugs that could prevent an infection and allowing these animals to become, or actually to allow the surgical procedure to essentially become contaminated, is contrary to basic veterinary procedures."

The procedures have since been halted at the school until further notice. SAEN has filed a request with the chancellor's office for complete information on all of the cows which have died at the vet med school in the past year.

Budkie says, if the USDA found negligence here, there could be more to those other deaths as well.

If the USDA decides to charge the school, there's a maximum fine of $10,000 for every non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act. There could be two potential violations for each cow. Total fines could be $100,000.

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