Friday, September 2, 2016

Contact:  Jodie Wiederkehr, Center For Ethical Science (CFES), 773-726-0589,


Animal suffered for eight days, dieswith no veterinary care

ARCATA, CA– Humboldt State University, located in Arcata, CA, violated the Animal Welfare Act by documenting a laboratory animal's decline, allowing that animal to suffer for numerous days, but never contacting a veterinarian, charged a research watchdog group today.

The US Department of Agriculture cited the following violation at Humboldt State Universityaccording to an August 3, 2016 inspection report.  

"A fisher was found dead in its enclosure on 5/2/16.  Prior to that, its decline was observed by caretakers, but the attending veterinarian was not informed or consulted.  The daily observation log includes the following observations (in quotation marks [sic]) of the fisher in the days preceding its death:

4/25/16 - "fisher bald patches larger than I last observed, bald patch on belly as well now"
4/26/16  "fisher appeared to be heaving/retching after exiting box but observed eating right after that. bald patches increasing in size."
4/28/16  "fisher appears to be thinner and labored breathing wt - 3.67 kg" (Note - was over 5 kg earlier in the year)
(4/29/16 - Fisher not mentioned in daily observations)
4/30/16  "fisher still breathing heavily. Didn't eat all of canine diet."
5/1/16  "fisher ate none of yesterday's food, appears extremely weak and wobbly when walking. FM & KC notified"
(Note - not veterinarians, and they did not notify veterinarian)
5/2/16  "fisher found deceased in box. RB notified" (Note - RB is the Attending Veterinarian)
The Attending Veterinarian was not notified regarding the condition of the fisher over these dates, until after its death."

In a letter to Dr. Robert Gibbens, Director of the Western Region of the USDA/APHIS (Animal and Plant Inspection Services), Jodie Wiederkehr, CFES' Executive Director, urged the USDA to launch a full investigation into this incident and levy the largest fine allowable against Humboldt State Universityof at least $10,000 per non-compliance.  

"This animal suffered for at least eight days without veterinary attention and succumbed rather than being cared for or humanely euthanized.  This indifference and failure to follow government regulations needs to be investigated and Humboldt State University needs to be held accountable for the tragic and unnecessary death of this unfortunate animal," Wiederkehr stated.

All federal reports are available upon request.