'Shocking' animal welfare violations are uncovered at US government labs including mice baked to death and primates kept in a room with the lights on 24-hours-a-day
Mice were baked to death after heating system failure or left to die from hunger
One vet failed to provide any care to a female owl monkey used for breeding
Took place at the laboratories of the National Institutes of Health over 22 months
By Afp and Amelia Wynne For Mailonline (UK)
7 February 2020
Shocking animal welfare conditions have been uncovered at US government labs.
Mice were baked to death after a heating system failure, or left to die from hunger and thirst when researchers forgot to put food or water in their cages for a week and nobody noticed.
Primates were also kept in a room where the lights were on 24-hours-a-day for nearly five months because a facility manager was said to be overworked.
One vet failed to provide any care to a female owl monkey used for breeding after she became seriously ill and lost a fifth of her bodyweight, eventually succumbing to heart failure, fluid in the chest and abdominal hemorrhage.
These animal welfare failures took place across a 22-month period from January 2018 to October 2019 at the laboratories of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the taxpayer-funded steward of medical and behavioral research of the United States.
A total of 31 internally reported incidents have come to light thanks to a freedom of information request made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
They took place at a variety of centers performing research in areas including diabetes, child health, mental health and more - mostly out of Bethesda, Maryland but also some at a facility in Hamilton, Montana.
In a statement, the NIH said it took all 'noncompliance' incidents seriously and all of them had been thoroughly investigated by its Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), while changes to procedures had been made as a result.
But animal rights groups, including those that, unlike PETA, are not ideologically opposed to all animal testing, blasted the violations.
Eric Kleiman, a researcher at the Animal Welfare Institute said: