Vanderbilt University again is under fire from the organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for allegedly mistreating animals used in their laboratory experiments.
Wednesday morning, the animal rights' group filed formal complaints with the USDA regarding Vanderbilt’s lab practices.
PETA spokesperson Anka Chandra said that she was informed that the university had been mistreating its animals after to speaking to someone on July 8 who had knowledge of such treatment.
The anonymous whistleblower claimed to date a girl who worked as an animal care technician at Vanderbilt, according to Chandra. PETA says that the names he reported prove that his accusations are credible.
“What we discovered was a culture of non-compliance, a culture of disregard for the animals,” Chandra said.
Included in the complaints were failure to ensure the proper psychological well being of primate, improper handling of dogs, mistreatment of mice and the housing of motherless kittens in a lightless environment.
Chandra added that the conditions for the lab’s human workers were poor.
Vanderbilt University replied to the allegations via a written response sent to The City Paper, stating it had conducted a thorough investigation, that the university is committed to the highest standards of animal care and that it continues to provide strict oversight for its animal research program.
This is not the first time Vanderbilt has come under fire from PETA. In 2005, USDA inspections prompted PETA to launch an investigation amidst accusations that primates were not being sedated before brain surgery experiments. The outcome of that investigation is not clear.
However, the university did re-state the importance of its support for animal research.
“Most life-saving procedures and medications in use today…would not have been possible without the ability to conduct prior research and training in animals,” said John Howser, deputy director, Office of News & Public Affairs for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.