Target: Thomas J. Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Penalize lab for putting a live rabbit in a freezer and numerous other violations of the Animal Welfare Act
A recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that a worker at Pacific Biolabs in Hercules, California put a living rabbit in a freezer to euthanize it, a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Several other violations were also uncovered, yet no fines or charges were filed against the lab. Animal testing is cruel enough and these laws are in place to ensure that the suffering animals experience is minimal. This cannot be tolerated and Pacific Biolabs should be fined immediately.
Internal records at the lab state that workers attempted to euthanize the rabbit by placing it in a carcass freezer, but the rabbit lived through it. The incident led to a USDA investigation into the matter; however, no citations were issued. USDA investigators merely asked the lab to take steps to ensure the incident would not be repeated. The animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now is pressuring the USDA to issue a $10,000 fine against Pacific Biolabs, the maximum penalty for a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. “It speaks of a very high level of incompetence when a laboratory can’t even kill an animal correctly,” said Michael Budkie, co-founder and executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. “We are talking about a situation where the staff at biolabs weren’t able to tell if the animal was alive or dead. What does that say about their ability to do anything scientific?”
According to its annual report, in 2013 Pacific Biolabs used 4,233 rabbits, 5,030 guinea pigs, 66 hamsters, 16 dogs and 16 pigs to conduct research and testing. Ten rabbits and four guinea pigs underwent painful or distressful testing without anesthesia, further violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Despite the fact that these reports are filed with the federal government, no citations were issued then either.
The flagrant lack of law enforcement in animal testing labs throughout the U.S. has become a common scenario. This must be stopped. What little protection lab animals have must be treated with significance. Please take a moment to sign the petition below and demand that the USDA press charges against Pacific Biolabs for there numerous violations.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
A recent report by the USDA at Pacific Biolabs revealed several violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including an incident in which workers chose to euthanize a rabbit by placing it in a carcass freezer, which the rabbit ultimately survived. This is not only cruel and heartless, it also reveals a surprising level of incompetence. Despite these violations, the lab was never fined, only told by investigators to not let it happen again.
This shouldn’t happen at all. There should be no “strike one.” There are lives and the possibility of a great deal of suffering at stake. Slaps on the wrist for violations at animal testing facilities have become all too common. It needs to stop now. Please hold Pacific Biolabs responsible for its cruelty and incompetence and fine it for its flagrant violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: areebanwer via Flickr