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Watchdog Group Wants Purdue Fined For Deaths Of Research Animals

Michael Hazelden

A national watchdog group is calling on the USDA to fine Purdue for the deaths of 10 animal research subjects.

According to officials with Stop Animal Exploitation Now, the university was negligent in the deaths of eight chinchillas in November 2013 and two calves in January of 2014.

The group’s executive director, Michael Budkie, says the information was obtained from reports the university submitted to the National Institutes of Health.

He says the incidents violate the federal Animal Welfare Act and his group is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to levy the heaviest fine possible against the university.

Budkie says it’s important for the public to know about situations like this, because in many instances these experiments are federally funded.

“Which means you and I are paying for it," says Budkie, "and if they animals are dying unnecessarily then why should we believe that they can do anything that’s like science if they can’t even keep the animals alive?”     

Howie Zelaznik is Purdue’s Associate Vice President for Research Compliance.

He says the university has roughly 18-thousand animals involved in research and teaching.

Zelaznik says all of these animals are treated as humanely as possibly under the law.

“We follow all of the federal and state guidelines for animal care and use. I think this is a philosophical difference that our institution has with this group of well-meaning individuals.”

SAEN has leveled similar complaints against Indiana University as well.

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