Thursday, October 05, 2006

Employees at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Accused of Animal Abuse

If nothing else, at least we see clear neglect and arrogance.


AU accused of animal abuse

By Tatiana Richards

Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn University is investigating employees in its College of Veterinary Medicine after an animal rights group claimed it found evidence of animal abuse during a hidden-camera investigation.

From February to October 2005, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals conducted a hidden-camera investigation at an Auburn research lab, said PETA spokesperson Kate Turlington. During that time, Turlington said, PETA's operative discovered researchers were not giving animals proper veterinary care, including administering insufficient amounts of pain medicine after surgeries.

PETA also claims Auburn misrepresented the success rate of its dog kidney transplant procedure. Auburn researchers said the procedure, which involves transplanting organs from one unrelated dog to another, allows dogs to possibly live out their lives without taking high doses of immunosuppressive drugs.

Turlington said she believes the claim to be false and that every animal that underwent the $14,000 procedure died.

Brian Keeter, director of public affairs at Auburn, said the university is looking into the matter.
"We are reviewing the situation to determine if any Auburn employees acted inappropriately, but it's very important to remember these are unsubstantiated allegations and Auburn was providing a service to people whose pets were very sick," Keeter said.

Karen Smith, an Ohio woman whose dog, Apache, died a few days after undergoing the procedure, said Auburn veterinarian Michael Tillson told her the procedure had a 70 percent success rate.

"I would've been happier to let Apache die at home with his family instead of 800 miles away with strangers," Smith said.

While Keeter did not have specific statistics about the program, he said the school is known for its services to animals, not for animal cruelty.

"Auburn University is a national leader in improving the quality of life for animals," Keeter said, adding that the school is accredited by the American Veterinary Association, which he said is considered the "gold standard" in veterinary education.

PETA has filed claims with the USDA as well as the Alabama Attorney General's Office, Turlington said.

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