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Lawsuit: UCSF mistreated test animals

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Beth Winegarner
Examiner Staff Writer
July 30, 2007

UC San Francisco is performing medical experiments on dogs and monkeys that violate the federal Animal Welfare Act, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The complaint, filed by a group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, alleges that UCSF’s cardiology tests on a group of 100 dogs and ongoing studies of eye movement and brain function in rhesus monkeys violate animal-testing laws, according to Lawrence Hansen, a member of the committee and a professor of neurosciences and pathology at UC San Diego.

“It’s far too much pain and suffering without furthering our understanding of human disease,” Hansen said.

UCSF paid $92,500 in fines to the United States Department of Agriculture in 2005 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act dating back to the late 1990s, according to the lawsuit.

UCSF defended its animal-testing practices in a statement released Monday.

“UCSF takes seriously the responsibility of working with animals and is committed to maintaining the highest standard of humane treatment in animal care and use,” Clifford Roberts, interim associate vice chancellor for research at UCSF, said in a written statement.

A recent USDA audit of the dog and monkey clinical and research records, performed the week of July 23, found no regulatory violations, Roberts added.

Specifically, the committee’s lawsuit charges that the canine cardiology tests violate the law because they duplicate prior atrial fibrillation testing, Hansen said.

In addition, the group claims that the rhesus testing — which involves installing electrodes in the monkeys’ brains and holding the animals still while studying their eye movements — is “highly invasive,” according to Hansen.

This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Examiner.

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Written by Beth Winegarner

July 30, 2007 at 10:28 PM

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