An Ohio-based animal rights group has filed a complaint against Oregon State University with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over seven animal deaths, including two cows at the university dairy.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports Stop Animal Exploitation Now! filed the complaint in late March contending the university violated the federal Animal Welfare Act in the deaths of two cows, four lambs and one ewe used in teaching or research between February 2017 and September 2018.
University officials dispute the claims, saying the university takes good care of its animals and has done nothing wrong.
The complaint contends university employees failed to properly care for a dairy cow with mastitis, failed to prevent the death of another cow that choked in a headlock at the dairy barn, failed to properly protect four lambs that were killed by predators and failed to provide adequate medical care to a ewe that died following surgery.
“To us, it demonstrates that they are violating federal law. These kinds of deaths simply should not have happened,” said Michael Budkie, executive director of the animal rights group.
OSU Vice President Steve Clark says the university is in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and the deaths represent unforeseen impacts to a tiny fraction of the more than 12,000 animals Oregon State keeps for research and teaching purposes.
He said Oregon State oversees the care and treatment of animals through its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and an attending veterinarian.
“OSU conducts hundreds of research and teaching activities annually. In this work, we care for thousands of animals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, and millions of fish,” he wrote in an email to the newspaper.
A USDA spokesman acknowledged that the agency was reviewing a complaint filed against Oregon State by the rights group but declined to say whether an investigation had been opened.
The rights group filed a separate complaint against Oregon State University in January, asking the USDA to fine the university over five surgeries on sheep in 2017 that violated rules governing animal experimentation.
None of the surgeries resulted in the death of an animal, and the university self-reported the incidents to USDA.