Auburn University is being asked by an animal rights activist group to discipline students who they say improperly administered hazardous drugs to animals while doing research.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now sent the letter to Interim President Jay Gogue on Monday and asked for an investigation. The group states in the letter that the Auburn graduate students should have their animal privileges permanently revoked, instead of the six-month suspension that they say "is by no means a sufficient penalty."
Al.com's Lily Jackson, who first broke this story, reported that the incidents were submitted to the Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee on June 6, 2019, and interviews with the graduate students followed.
The animal rights group said it discovered a federal lab association report detailing how four researchers were involved in the use of unapproved drugs on animals, and one student hadn't reviewed protocol.
A miscommunication led to drugs being administered while animals were alive and not after euthanasia, according to the report.
Auburn University sent the following statement to The Plainsman:
"Auburn University is committed to ensuring the highest level of research compliance and laboratory safety. Our highly trained researchers are dedicated to safe, respectful and humane practices in working with animals to advance science and medicine.
"We take seriously any animal welfare concern, and our faculty and staff work closely with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to ensure that research and teaching involving animals meets and exceeds policies of regulatory and accrediting agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International.
"In the rare instance when corrective action is required, we take the necessary steps to prevent similar incidents in the future, and we self-report to the appropriate agency or agencies. As a Carnegie R-1 research institution, Auburn is focused on providing life-saving solutions for the betterment of its community and beyond, with a safe and responsible process always being of paramount concern."
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