The Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) is facing criticism after national watchdog Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) found that at least 116 lab animals were killed and a number of others were injured during experiments between 2016 and 2017. Care2 is raising a petition asking for the university to close the lab in question and launch a thorough investigation.
SAEN, a not-for-profit group that monitors research facilities for violations and animal abuse across America, is pushing for an investigation into the program at IUSM that has allowed these incidents to happen. SAEN states that the school sent federal funding agencies at least 17 letters openly admitting to wrongdoing and are yet to be punished for their acts of cruelty.
In reported incidents between 2016 and 2017, animals were found starved, dehydrated, drowned, and suffocated due to a lack of care by staff, or they died as a result of botched medical procedures. Cages the animals were kept in were dirty and wet; one incident in August of 2017 saw faulty water bottles flooding some cages in a laboratory and killing 40 mice, and another saw mice dying from anesthetic overdose following surgical procedures.
“They indicate very serious, ongoing problems at the I.U. School of Medicine,” said SAEN Executive Director, Michael Budkie, of the reported incidents. “And that’s why we’re calling for an independent audit and the termination of all staff connected to these incidents.”
While medical research is important, it is difficult to understand any justification for the examples of negligence or the use of animals as shown at IUSM. Modeling human diseases on rodents has long been seen as a problematic practice. If the IUSM and other universities are unable to ensure the safety of the animals they are experimenting on, then they should be stripped of their license to do so. Using animals for experiments has proven to be flawed time and time again, and as educational leaders and role models, universities should be pushing to modernize and advance their practices to computer models.
Please join us in signing the Care2 petition for the IUSM to close the lab and fix the numerous issues before it does any further harm.
Image Source: Eddy Van 3000/Flickr