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Research Watchdog Demands Probation for Harvard and Vanderbilt

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SAEN, a national research watchdog organization has demanded that the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) place Harvard Medical School and Vanderbilt University on probation for incidents of animal abuse and negligence. 


At the heart of the controversy at Harvard are incidents where a monkey strangulated, a cat died due to inappropriate anesthesia, and a dog was neglected sufficiently to lose 20% of his/her body weight.

“A facility like the Harvard Medical School which has illustrated such a callously indifferent attitude to the well-being of animals should not be accredited by an organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN. 

According to government records these episodes, and others, have led to the Harvard Medical School piling up 46 violations of federal law in a three-year period, ending in 2006.


The situation at Vanderbilt may be worse where 49 federal violations accrued within two years including incidents where an unauthorized surgery cut the eyes out of a bush baby’s head and another primate died of dehydration. Other abuses include depriving monkeys of water, paralyzing cats during experimentation, neglecting rabbits, and killing a ferret during an MRI procedure.

“Laboratories such as Harvard Medical School and Vanderbilt who abuse animals so severely clearly have no regard whatsoever for animal welfare, or proper scientific procedures,” added Budkie. 

The government records and the AAALAC demand letter are available upon request.

 Contact: Michael Budkie 513-575-5517; 513-703-9865

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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