Animal rights group calls WSU ���Negligent'

KREM 2's Whitney Ward has the story

PULLMAN, Wash. --- Another complaint has been filed against Washington State University by an animal rights group.

This marks the fourth complaint the animal rights group has issued against WSU.

Earlier this year, KREM 2 News brought you an exclusive report about the WSU Bear Center, and the death of two year-old cubs.

The university admitted it never should have happened, and they have since changed some of their policies and procedures to make sure it does not happen again.

Today, WSU officials told KREM 2 News that these complaints by the animal rights group are different.

WSU said the complaints are nothing more than targeted exaggerations.

WSU is standing firm in its response to the latest complaint lodged by the animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN.

It is the fourth complaint in four months, all filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates animal research facilities, like WSU.

WSU said they do not believe there is a pattern with the complaints.

“I think what we are seeing here is that, as the documents the group is requesting from us are received by them, they are then, in turn, turning around and making their assessment,” said WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Charlie Powell.

WSU does not believe the complaints are a fair assessment of the situation.

“I think it's an inaccurate assessment,” said Powell.

The most recent complaint alleges “systemic failure” at WSU, resulting in the deaths of several lambs and Bighorn sheep.

It claimed multiple animals died of pneumonia, while some were “found dead” and others were “ripped apart by predators”. A document highlights that one lamb was missing its right eye.

"You'll notice that they have basically selected the most reactionary language they can out of a necropsy report, to put it into perspective, when any animal dies outdoors, or any person dies outdoors, predation begins immediately,” said Powell.

Powell added, “In the case that he is representing from these records, that lamb that passed away and was they immediately preyed upon by birds, magpies or crows or ravens, and of course, they plucked the eyes out.”

The university also said, what the activists left out, that thousands of Bighorns die each year in the wild from pneumonia. These research animals, are part of a critical vaccine research effort.

"This pneumonia is extremely deadly, and can kill these animals in a matter of hours,” said Powell.

Powell insists the work being done at WSU is for the benefit of all animals.

"It always paints an institution, or a company, in a negative light when a partial truth is conveyed. And that's exactly what this is. It's only part of the picture. It's not the complete picture. And I think that's one of the reasons why there have been no sanctions against us,” said Powell.

Even though the university feels these complaints do not have merit, it still starts a process with the USDA to ensure research animals are being cared for properly.

It is now up to the Department of Agriculture to decide if these complaints will move forward with sanctions, or simply be dismissed.

So far, none of the four complaints from this animal rights group has been decided.




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