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Animal rights group seeks investigation, fine against Oklahoma State University

by Kathryn McNutt Modified: September 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm •  Published: September 4, 2014

— Officials who enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act will determine if Oklahoma State University will be investigated for noncompliance, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

In a complaint filed Friday, the group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! alleges OSU has committed multiple violations, including actions that resulted in the deaths of more than 80 animals. SAEN called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate and impose a “significant fine.”

“We will be looking into this to determine whether there were any Animal Welfare Act noncompliances that occurred,” said Tanya Espinosa with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“To be clear, this is not an investigation. We are just looking into it at this point. We may, at some point open an investigation if warranted,” Espinosa said.

In the complaint, Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN, cites unapproved surgical procedures on three cows and the permanent suspension of animal use privileges for an OSU researcher who used unapproved euthanasia methods.

Budkie also cites the deaths of 76 out of 80 African pouched rats during shipment, but noted it is “unclear if the responsibility should be placed on Oklahoma State University, or on Delta Airlines, the company responsible for the shipping.”

“SAEN stated that it learned of the incidents from OSU’s filings with the appropriate federal agencies,” OSU spokeman Gary Shutt said. “Not mentioned is the fact those agencies were satisfied with OSU’s response and the matters were closed.”

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by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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