Watchdog group calls out University of Arizona for animal abuse

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — National watchdog group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) is calling out the University of Arizona for breaking federal law in the negligent deaths of four animals.

The non-profit animal advocacy organization cites a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report as evidence for their complaint.

This report says the university’s Animal Care Manager “administered an incorrect levamisole dose causing an acute levamisole toxicity,” which fatally poisoned three young sheep on Friday, September 10.

Just over a month later, a university staff member injured a bat when moving equipment, leading to an immediate euthanization of the animal.

SAEN’s federal complaint is filed against the university with Director of Animal Care Operations of the USDA Dr. Robert Gibbens. They are calling for a full investigation and federal penalty.

Associate Vice President of External Communications for the University of Arizona Pam Scott addressed the deaths.

There was an unfortunate incident in which three sheep were given incorrect doses of a dewormer.

Immediately upon learning of this error, the university followed its required timely procedures and filed a report with the USDA.

The USDA inspected the facilities and interviewed staff and found no further concerns.

The staff involved were provided additional training to help prevent this from happening again.

– Pam Scott

Since the research was supported through US Public Health Service funds, specifically the National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences, National Institutes of Health, and grant UL1 TR000454, SAEN advocates want the university to receive the maximum federal fine of $10,000 per infraction/per animal.

This total comes to $40,000 for the deaths of these three sheep and one bat involved.

According to the Office of Research Integrity, former Adjunct Assistant Professor with the university’s Arizona Health Sciences Center Charles A. Downs is to blame.

The office also alleges Downs engaged in research misconduct by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly falsifying and/or fabricating data.

Caleb Fernandez is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Born and raised in Southern California, Caleb has always had an affinity for creative collaborations. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.


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