UC Berkeley Cited for Animal Welfare Violations Resulting in Deaths, Injuries

The University of California-Berkeley received two critical violations from the USDA for violating the Animal Welfare Act, resulting in the escape and deaths of voles and serious injuries to other animals. This is not the university's first offense, with previous citations issued in 2022 and 2023.

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Bijay Laxmi
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UC Berkeley Cited for Animal Welfare Violations Resulting in Deaths, Injuries

UC Berkeley Cited for Animal Welfare Violations Resulting in Deaths, Injuries

The University of California-Berkeley has been issued two critical violations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federalAnimal Welfare Act. The violations led to the escape and deaths of numerous voles, as well as serious injuries to other animals, including a monkey whose tail required partial amputation after being crushed by staff.

Why this matters: The repeated violations at UC Berkeley raise concerns about the treatment and well-being of animals in research institutions, highlighting the need for stricter regulations and oversight. Moreover, the incident underscores the importance of exploring alternative research methods that do not involve animal testing, which could have significant implications for the future of scientific research.

According to the USDA citations issued on May 10, 2024, voles escaped from their enclosures, with some later found dead. In one incident, staffers crushed a vole to death under a cage lid. The incompetent handling by staff also resulted in a monkey sustaining a tail injury so severe that it required partial amputation.

This is not the first time UC Berkeley laboratories have faced repercussions for non-compliance with animal welfare regulations. The university has a history of violations, with previous citations issued in May 2022, March 2023, and September 2023. The repeated offenses raise serious concerns about the treatment and well-being of animals under the care of UC Berkeley researchers.

Kathy Guillermo, Berkeley alum and PETA Senior Vice President, strongly condemned the university's actions, stating, "Incompetent staffers at the University of California–Berkeley kill and maim animals during day-to-day handling, adding to the violence already inherent in experimentation. These recent incidents and the dozens that came earlier continue to make an airtight case for revoking every single penny of taxpayer money these laboratories gobble up." PETA is urging university officials to adopt their Research Modernization Deal, which advocates for modern, non-animal research methods that have the potential to yield more relevant and effective results for human health.

The organization argues that the millions of dollars in taxpayer funds currently allocated to animal experimentation at UC Berkeley are being wasted on practices that lead to the death and dismemberment of animals without demonstrable benefits for humans.

The recent violations at UC Berkeley highlight the ongoing ethical and scientific concerns surroundinganimal experimentation. With advancements in technology and alternative research methods, the reliance on animals in laboratories is increasingly being called into question. As the university faces scrutiny for its treatment of animals, it remains to be seen whether it will take meaningful steps to address these issues and adopt more humane and effective research practices.