The University of Minnesota is the top offender of animal welfare violations, according to a new report on the nation's leading college laboratories.
On Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, announced the findings of a study on animal research practices at the "top 20 university recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants," referring to schools that get federal money for their experiments.
According to a news release, PETA's study found that between Jan. 1, 2015 and April 1, 2017, the universities "racked up a total of 430 violations specifically related to the treatment of mice and rats," with the U of M leading the way at 60 violations.
The "violations," the group says, include unapproved experiments, failing to give the animals proper pain relief, and other cases where the rodents were subjected to "dehydration, starvation, or inadequate ventilation."
At some universities, the "violations were repeated, but federal oversight authorities took no corrective action."
On Monday, PETA is presenting its findings to the Tenth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences conference in Seattle.
U of M's alleged violations
An email from PETA's "Laboratory Investigations" arm gets into specifics about what allegedly happened at the U of M, and it isn't pretty:
"At the University of Minnesota, experimenters drew blood from behind mice’s eyes, but failed to provide pain relief to the animals. Other mice were subjected to an experimental surgery but were not given analgesia as specified in the approved protocol. In one incident, 75 rats were not given post-operative analgesia. Experimenters deviated from protocols that had been approved by the oversight body, subjecting mice and rats to procedures that had not been approved."
Other alleged abuses included overcrowding, and a failure to properly monitor mice that had been "infected with a virus or used in an experimental surgery."
"Living mice were found in the carcass cooler when workers failed to ensure that mice were dead before they were placed in coolers intended for dead animals," the email statement also said.
Other "top offenders" were the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Michigan, Yale University, and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
GoMN has reached out to the University of Minnesota for a response. We'll update this story when we hear back.