Friday, September 23, 2011

Princeton gets failing grades for treatment of animals in science research, study finds

By Bob Considine/The Star-Ledger
Animal-Research.JPGTwo monkeys, which are part of a controlled experiment, play in their cage at the Huntingdon Life Sciences research lab in Somerset County in this file photo from April 2001.
PRINCETON — Princeton University is receiving failing grades from a medical research group for its treatment of animals used by the school for scientific study.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit group that promotes animal rights and vegan diets, ranks Princeton as second worst among the eight Ivy League schools in adhering to minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act.
One of the school’s greatest offenses, the group says, is "a pattern of deliberate, excessive water restriction in primates" beyond the guidelines set in Animal Welfare Act — some of which resulted in a warning from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, earlier this year.
"In this study, Princeton is an example of how much disregard there is for the Animal Welfare Act," said John Pippin, a cardiologist, director of academic affairs for the research group and author of the study, scheduled to be released Wednesday morning. "It’s also an example of and how little its university regulatory body really cares about saying to its own researchers, ‘You know, you really can’t do this.’"
The study, based on animal facility inspection reports by APHIS from January 2008 to July 2011, applied a score relative to violations, repeat violations and National Institutes of Health grant money.
Princeton and Yale universities tied for second-worst with a score of 49, a distance from the worst-ranked school, the University of Pennsylvania, which received a score of 120. Harvard (48), Cornell (38) and Brown (35) and Dartmouth (33) finished with lower scores — meaning higher grades — than Princeton. Columbia University (25) yielded the best results.
Princeton spokesman Martin Mbugua, said the university’s research methods meet approved protocols.
"It’s unfortunate that some groups make efforts to influence the public’s understanding about beneficial research by taking the approach of this report," he said.
Mbugua said all research involving animals is reviewed and approved by Princeton’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, including the use of water scheduling as a research protocol.
In its report, the medical research group said "non-human primates were routinely forced to go more than 24 hours without water." But Mbugua said the report is misleading in its wording.
During an APHIS inspection in late January, water was found to have been removed from two cages and not returned until over 24 hours later. Mbugua said this was an isolated incident caused by an "unanticipated delay" due to a miscommunication. Measures were put in place to avoid such miscommunication again, he said.
In an inspection report, the USDA also admonished the school for not providing proper veterinary care for a pregnant marmoset that was in distress in March. The agency said the attending veterinarian was not informed of the marmoset’s condition.
In response, Mbugua said "to have a veterinarian attend the birth is not common and is not a requirement," as marmosets sometimes deliver in the middle of the night, just as they do in the wild. But he also said a formal process has been implemented so an attending veterinarian is always notified of impending births.
APHIS sent the school an official warning of Violation of Federal Regulations in May, which could have resulted in fines. Mbugua said in an inspection on June 7, APHIS concluded the school had "taken corrective actions and all of the non-compliant items that were identified have either been corrected or corrective actions are in progress."
Pippin, however, said warnings of fines are rare in APHIS correspondences with animal study programs at universities and the response to their criticism are "not just a sign of disrespect, but of arrogance."
Star-Ledger staff writer Kelly Heyboer contributed to this report.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Follow-up on Vivisection Debate

Doris Lin attended the debate and wrote about it on her Animal Rights blog, "Conversation with a Vivisector." Professor Ringach started another debate with her. Read the comments, after the article.

An attorney, Doris also holds a degree in Applied Biological Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Top 20 Most Painful Animal Labs

Michael Budkie, of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW, released a report on the top most painful labs in the United States. See the full report below.

What can you do?

World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week is April 16th - 24th.  Learn all you can and please get involved.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vivisection Debate at Rutgers University - March 8 2011

Gary Francione is debating vivisection at Rutgers on March 8, and it's open to the public:

The topic:  The Use of Nonhuman Animals in Biomedical Research: A Moral Justification?

Professor Ringach will argue that we are justified in using animals in experiments; I will argue that we cannot justify animal use in this or in any other context.

The debate will take place in the Baker Trial Courtroom at Rutgers University School of Law, 123 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey, from 6-8 p.m. Vegan refreshments will be served following the debate, which will be videotaped and made available here and on Professor Ringach’s site.

The debate will be sponsored by the Student Bar Association, the American Constitutional Society, and the Federalist Society. The debate will be moderated by John J. Farmer, Jr., Dean and Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark. Dean Farmer served as Attorney General of the State of New Jersey and as General Counsel of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (commonly known as the 9/11 Commission).