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January 4, 2011

The HSUS Highlights Animal Research Violations at Mount San Antonio College

College was fined after animals died due to lack of proper veterinary care

In light of government reports showing that Mount San Antonio College has failed to follow minimal standards of care for animals in laboratories, The Humane Society of the United States urges the college to adopt a policy stating that laboratory animals in its care do not experience severe, unrelieved pain and distress. According to the reports, the college’s violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act include distress and eventual death of animals due to inadequate veterinary care, improper staff monitoring of animals, and failure to communicate and address animal welfare problems. Mount San Antonio College is located in Walnut, Calif. 

The HSUS learned of the college’s violations through inspection reports posted online by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. The college was fined more than $20,000 this year for violating these very basic standards. 

“The public opposes the suffering of animals in research laboratories,” said Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for Animal Research Issues for The HSUS. “Especially in light of these disturbing incidents, Mount San Antonio College should publicly affirm its commitment to minimizing the suffering of animals used on campus.” 

More than 60 U.S. colleges and universities have adopted a policy ensuring that no animals in their laboratories experience severe and unrelieved suffering. Advertisements urging Mount San Antonio College to adopt such a policy are appearing in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune beginning this week.

Timeline  

According to reports filed by of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:  

May 2010: Mount San Antonio College was fined $20,844 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including the incidents described below. 

November 2008: A sheep suffering complications during labor was not provided with adequate pain relief and was then euthanized without any veterinary oversight or care using a method not approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The USDA cited the college for inadequate veterinary care, failure to ensure personnel were qualified to conduct the procedures on the sheep, failure to describe in advance how discomfort and pain to the animal would be limited, lack of proper Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval and failure to keep proper medical records. 

October 2008: A llama named Freddy suffered complications under anesthesia while being sheared outside on a hot day. He was later seen in distress and died two days later—without ever being seen by a veterinarian or receiving veterinary care. The USDA cited the college for lack of adequate veterinary care by a qualified veterinarian, failure to properly handle animals, failure to describe in advance how discomfort and pain to the animal would be limited, and conducting a procedure without proper IACUC approval. 

September 2008: Students monitoring a sick sheep provided little to no details in her medical records about her health, behavior or well-being. The USDA cited the college for not providing a means of direct and frequent communication between animal care staff and the veterinarian so that welfare problems can be addressed.

Background

  • In 2009, Mount San Antonio College reported to the USDA that they used 164 animals—including dogs, cats, sheep, pigs, cattle and horses—for testing, teaching and/or experiments.
  • From July 2008 to August 2010, The HSUS repeatedly contacted Mount San Antonio College asking the college to adopt a policy that the animals in its laboratories would not be subjected to research or conditions that would cause severe and unrelieved pain or distress. To date, the college has not responded to any of our requests.  
  • The USDA regulates animal research on some animal species under the Animal Welfare Act, but does allow animal research involving severe and unrelieved pain and distress. Therefore, following federal law is not enough to prevent severe animal suffering.
  • Sixty-three U.S. colleges and universities have affirmed that they have policies preventing severe and unrelieved animal pain and distress. 

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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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