SAEN Accuses UVA of Animal Cruelty
Media Coverage About SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

SAEN Accuses UVA of Animal Cruelty
By, December 10, 2015

The University of Virginia is answering some big criticisms. An animal rights group is accusing researchers at UVA of animal cruelty.

A group called Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) released a report saying UVA is guilty of rampant misconduct when it comes to research. The report says dozens of rats and mice died when university workers didn't follow protocol.

“Carelessness, a lack of treating the animals like they're even living beings and taking that into consideration in how they treat them. They don't monitor them, give them pain medication,” said Stacey Ellison research analyst of SAEN.

SAEN attributes its information to freedom of information requests, saying it obtained documents from UVA to the National Institute of Health (NIH). It alleges that rats died at UVA from unauthorized experimental chemicals, neglect, and dehydration.

“Instances like that can call into question the validity of the experimentation or of the results of the experimentation that they're conducting on them,” said Ellison.

UVA Doctor Sanford Feldman is in charge of finding noncompliance and reporting them to NIH. He says corrective action is often coupled with each noncompliance.

“When those things are found, what we do is we compile these, we report them to the federal government as we're supposed to, and then we put into place resolutions for this. So we meet with the people that are involved. Typically there's retraining involved,” Sanford said.

UVA admits some fault, saying it has about 60,000 animals in its live inventory and that some mistakes are inevitable but sometimes animal research is the only way to learn how to treat humans.

“They are lifesaving. Whether you're looking at current organ transplantation that's done in humans was all developed in animal models before that,” said Doctor Sanford Feldman who oversees animal research at UVA.

Moving forward, SAEN says it wants to see an independent investigation at each university with noncompliance. In Virginia, it says that's UVA, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

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