The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lawsuit Against the USDA- Inspection Reports of Government labs

[Entry posted at 6th July 2009 03:37 PM GMT]

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) must post annual reports from animal research facilities that document the levels of pain and distress experienced by animals in experimental procedures, according to a court settlement last week (July 1) of a lawsuit between the USDA and The Humane Society of the United States.

"We have been taking a variety of steps to increase transparency on a number of issues, [and] the agreement we reached with the Human Society is consistent with that," said USDA spokesperson Andrea McNally.

According to the Humane Society, the USDA stopped posting the annual reports, required by the Animal Welfare Act, around the end of 2001. When the USDA failed to provide copies of the reports requested by the Human Society (in the form of Freedom of Information Act requests), the Humane Society filed charges in 2005. Since then, the USDA has been posting some of the reports, but the settlement makes the action mandatory. Under the settlement agreement, the USDA must also make clear which institutions have failed to submit them. In addition, the USDA must continue to look for several documents that are still missing, and report back to the Humane Society with the results of the search. "It became very clear that there isn't a very good system for keeping track of these documents," said Kathleen Conlee, Director of Program Management for Animal Research Issues of the Humane Society. "We're hoping that as a result of this suit, they [will develop] a better system."

The "open policy" regarding the oversight of animal laboratories enforced by this settlement "will help educate the public and advance human health research," Thomas Rowell, director of the New Iberia Research Center of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, wrote in an email to The Scientist. (Earlier this year, that facility was cited for Animal Welfare Act violations in regard to its care of primates.) But David Jentsch, a neuropsychopharmacologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who organized a pro-research rally in April after being targeted by animal rights activists, warned that such information is not always used to honestly inform the public. "I think one's reaction has to fit the complexity of the issue," Jentsch said. "I'm all in favor of being as transparent as possible, and encouraging the USDA to do that as well, [but this information is often used] for making fallacious claims and harassing scientists." "


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