USDA Inspection of NC Research Lab Exposed by PETA
October 8, 2010
After PETA released a video showing snippets from a 9 month undercover investigation done at a NC research lab, the USDA conducted an inspection. The September 14 report details research animals in poor condition. From the report:
…large number of dogs…problems such as periodontal disease, pododermatitis, otitis externa and conjunctivitis.
…receded [gums]… exposed roots… loosened teeth…
…feet were moist… [reddened skin]… dark staining of the fur… swelling/interdigital cysts… lick granulomas
The inspectors found both acute and chronic ear infections. One dog had such severe swelling on her muzzle and the right side of her face that her right eyelids were jammed shut. Another dog had crusted over lacerations on the ears, apparently caused by another dog several days prior to the inspection. The staff said they knew nothing about the bite wounds. In addition to the untreated conditions of the animals, the inspectors noted a number of structural deficiencies in the facility (such as rust and drainage problems) that had been noted in a 2009 inspection report but were never corrected.
The president of the lab, Helen Sonenshine, said the lab is still in business but would not say whether they will resume animal testing in future. She seems to have changed her tune considerably since the video’s release:
In an interview last month with The Associated Press, Helen Sonenshine said she was disgusted and appalled by the PETA video.
But in an e-mail exchange this week with The Virginian-Pilot, she vigorously defended the lab’s treatment of its animals and called PETA’s charges “a prefabricated smear campaign.”
I guess the USDA is in on it too, judging from their inspection report.
All of the allegations are false, Helen Sonenshine said in an e-mail this week. She said the Department of Agriculture inspection last month found no evidence of abuse or neglect.
If you opt to read the report (at the link), let me know if you agree with Mrs. Sonenshine that no evidence of neglect was indicated. Keep in mind that these animals were not someone’s beloved couch potatoes that maybe the health problems went unnoticed because the owner was elderly or whatever. These were research facility animals, cared for by paid staff and attended to by veterinary researchers.