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LSU vet school improperly bought shelter animals for lab use, PETA says in complaint to USDA

PETA’s complaint alleges at least 70 dogs were unlawfully acquired from the shelter by LSU in 2018, claiming the school purchases cadavers from the shelter for $20 each, and live dogs for $40.

KIM CHATELAIN: ‘The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is the target of a complaint filed by a national animal rights group claiming the school may have violated the federal Animal Welfare Act by purchasing dogs from an unlicensed Baton Rouge shelter for use in lethal anatomy courses and possibly other experimental purposes. The complaint, filed Wednesday (Feb. 6) by People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), claims the veterinary school acquired animals from the Companion Animal Alliance. The complaint said the shelter does not possess the required federal license needed to provide animals for research…

PETA’s complaint alleges at least 70 dogs were unlawfully acquired from the shelter by LSU in 2018, claiming the school purchases cadavers from the shelter for $20 each, and live dogs for $40. Those acquisitions “would give rise to at least 140 separate violations” of the federal animal act, the complaint said. Because of the “egregious nature of these noncompliances and the flagrant violation of the public’s trust,” PETA’s complaint says if the allegations are founded the USDA should assess the maximum allowable penalty against LSU – which the group estimated at roughly $1.6 million…

Jeremy Beckham, an associate in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, said the animal rights group began a probe of the LSU animal acquisition methods last fall after a whistleblower filed a complaint. To independently corroborate the complaints of the whistleblower, later identified as former shelter Executive Director Desiree Bender, PETA sought public records… Bender, the whistleblower, said she became executive director of the animal shelter in May of 2018. Bender said she was shocked shortly after her arrival when she was asked to sign an invoice to send live dogs to LSU for an anatomy class. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what was going on there” before taking the job, she said. “No one at the shelter had gone over this with me”. Bender said she refused to sign the invoice, which she said led to a dispute with LSU veterinary school professors’. SOURCE…

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