University of Pittsburgh Disputes Claims by Stop Animal Exploitation Now

The University of Pittsburgh this month accused Stop Animal Exploitation Now of twisting the facts to make it appear as if the university had a poor animal welfare record.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now released a report, Breaking the Law: Animal Care in U.S. Labs, which ranked the University of Pittsburgh as having the ninth highest number of violations of animal welfare laws among the 25 laboratories that the group examined. According to The Pitt News,

Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN and author of the report, said information gathered from USDA inspection reports [of the University of Pittsburgh’s facilities] described violations that included the use of expired drugs, housing of 35-inch primates in 32-inch cages and unnecessary isolation of disease-free primates, among others.

Budkie also cited a 2003 USDA report that technicians monitoring primates that were part of an experiment involving controlling the water intake of four primates failed to recognize “rudimentary signs of dehydration.” The USDA report noted that the University corrected the problem as soon as it was made aware of it.

Dr. Randy Juhl, vice chancellor of research conduct and compliance at the University of Pittsburgh, told The Pitt News that SAEN was taking the facts out of context, noting that most of the information found in the SAEN report were gathered from the University’s own reports on its animal welfare compliance,

This is a good example of how an organization can use a little fact and twist it to serve their particular purpose.

[SAEN’s] goal is to have no animal experimentations. Our goal is to have animal experimentations within the rules and regulation to make medical advances.

. . .

If you count the little violations, 27 [over a three year period] is not a number that concerns me at all, considering there are 1,000 people working on these things. We don’t consider [the violations [trivial]. We take care of them and fix them.

According to SAEN’s report, during that three year period, the University of Pittsburgh housed 2,341 regulated animals.


Animal treatment in labs up to par, Pitt says. Brenda Miller, The Pitt News, June 2, 2004.

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