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The HSUS Highlights Animal Research Violations at Wright State University

Reports show that animals died from dehydration, lack of proper observation

The Humane Society of the United States has obtained government reports showing that Wright State University has violated federal standards of care for animals in laboratories. Violations included failing to provide adequate post-operative care and failing to properly euthanize an animal. The improperly euthanized animal remained alive but was discarded as if he were dead.

The HSUS learned of the violations through documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

"The public doesn't want animals to suffer in research laboratories," said Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for animal research issues for The HSUS. "Especially in light of these disturbing incidents, Wright State University should publicly affirm its commitment to minimizing the suffering of animals in its research labs."

The HSUS renews its call for Wright State University to join other institutions in adopting a policy ensuring no animals in its laboratories experience severe and unrelieved suffering. Advertisements urging Wright State to adopt such a policy are appearing in the university's student newspaper beginning this week.


According to reports made by the university to NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare

October 2008: A mouse died after he and another mouse were left to recover from surgery in cages left on heating pads overnight, without water or monitoring.

December 2007: Forty frogs died of dehydration after staff failed to check their housing container for water.

July 2005: A rat pup was found alive in the carcass freezer after an apparent failed attempt at carbon dioxide euthanasia.


  • In August 2009, The HSUS sent a letter to Wright State University asking them to adopt a policy that the animals in their laboratories would not be subjected to research or conditions that would cause severe and unrelieved pain or distress. Included with the letter were petition signatures from more than 1,300 students, parents, alumni, faculty, and members of the public in support of the university adopting such a policy. To date, the university has not responded to our request.  
  • The USDA regulates research on some animal species under the Animal Welfare Act. The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare ensures that Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals is followed by institutions receiving federal funds for animal research. However, federal law does allow animal research involving severe and unrelieved pain and distress. Therefore, following federal law is not enough to prevent severe animal suffering.
  • Fifty-five U.S. colleges and universities have affirmed to us that they have policies preventing severe and unrelieved animal pain and distress. 


Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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