November 1, 2014

UW-Madison fined by USDA

Officials with the University of Wisconsin Madison say the campus will pay over $35,000 in fines to the USDA, for violations that involved the care of research animals.

The fines are connected to citations issued between 2007 and last year. Of the seven issued by the federal agency, all arose from routine USDA inspections of the UW-Madison animal program. The university says only two were for violations directly connected to animal welfare. Others included the presence of expired drugs and problems with facilities used to house the animals, such as peeling paint and a slippery floor in an animal room.

The UW says a dog and a gerbil had died in the cases under investigation. A cat that was under anesthesia was burned by a hand-warmer, but the animal has fully recovered.

Justin Goodman with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the fines confirmation that the UW-Madison labs “are a mess and that animal welfare is lacking.” However, the UW argued the number of violations is relatively small, given the large size of the UW-Madison’s animal program.
Officials say they have worked to address all of the issues identified by the USDA, and put new policies and procedures in place to prevent future incidents.