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University of Wisconsin May Face Charges Over Illegal Experiments

University of Wisconsin May Face Charges Over Illegal Experiments

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are in hot water again for cruel experiments on animals. This time they are facing potential legal charges over decompression experiments on sheep.

Animal advocacy groups have filed complaints against the University for specific US Navy-funded experiments involving decompression sickness — sometimes called “the bends” — and sheep.

Decompression sickness is a painful and sometimes fatal condition that afflicts deep-sea divers. The University of Wisconsin has been putting sheep into hyperbaric chambers to simulate the effects of decompression sickness. Twenty-six sheep have died as a result of the experiments.

Killing an animal by means of decompression is illegal in Wisconsin. The state statute says unequivocally “Decompression prohibited: No person may kill an animal by means of decompression.”

The slow-moving legal process has been a frustrating one for animal advocates. A year and a half ago a Wisconsin district attorney concluded that the testing done at UWM was illegal but that prosecuting the university “would not be a wise use of the resources of [his] office.” Less than a year ago a judge assigned another DA to look into the experiments. He has yet to file any charges; the statute of limitations for the killing of the sheep expires in June.

The latest legal development is an affidavit from former UWM senior veterinarian Richard “Jim” Brown who claims that in the UWM Veterinary School it was common knowledge that the sheep experiments were illegal but that they were conducted anyway.

Brown’s claim that the university was aware of the illegality of the experiments seems to be backed up by emails between UWM’s attorneys and the Navy in which UWM’s attorneys advised the Navy to remove the word “decompression” from a letter in support of the experiments.

Researchers at the university have predictably denied all wrongdoing.

The animal testing program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is no stranger to criticism. The USDA has cited UWM over twenty times in the past two years for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Debate and controversy over animal testing at UWM led to the university holding public forums on the programs as a damage-control strategy.

Jim Brown knows all about the conditions of animals that live in the laboratories of UWM. He spoke out against the awful conditions in the labs as a senior vet for UWM and was bullied into leaving his job.

It should come as no surprise that the same university that can’t even keep up with the lax animal welfare standards imposed by the federal government would knowingly violate Wisconsin law and try to obfuscate the details.

The experiments are currently stalled while the legal issues are pending.

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Photo: Rainer Ebert

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12:05PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

University of Wisconsin animal treatment ethics - to read that such cruelties and senseless torture are continued at a prestigious house of higher education makes me sick.

4:49AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

There is Absolutely NO REASON for this in a high school EXCEPT TO DESENSITIZE THESE KIDS. "Yes, kids, LIFE IS CHEAP - so is yours." Have absolutely NO REGARD FOR YOUR HEART OR SOUL OR FOR ANYONE ELSE'S. BULLYING IS GOOD, IT MAKES YOU STRONG, don't be Weak -like THEM. You see what happens to the WEAK..."

8:20AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

GOOD!! Seems to be the current theme for U of W. Bunch of Animal Abusers!!! They shouldn't be allowed to work with ANY Animals!

10:00PM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Shared on Facebook.

1:14PM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

I got as far as the first few words by "JJ J" said, & couldnt agree more! But actually, my idea of showing these "people?" what they are is to return in kind what has been/IS being done to these innocent & loving creatures; but up to the point of within an inch of their pitiful lives. Then, how about chaining them outside with minimal shade & SOME water, & SOME slop every few days. This sentence shoud last at least double the time they have been creating this nightmare, if not more; a case by case sentence. Ghandhi & a Native American have some very real, true & loving statements about our creatures, all of which are true! Gandhi's; 1 of them, "One can tell much about a coountry by the way it treats its' animals". Thank you so much for all everyone does!

7:05PM PDT on May 16, 2011

Heck, i wouldn't even waste prison space on scum bags like this. They'd be given lethal injection (even tho that's too humane for them.) NO animal experimentation should be allowed for any purpose. I feel (and i bet others feel this way too) that those in prison & are no doubt guilty of murder, rape, torture, etc., lost all rights when they did those things & they are the ones that should be used to experiment on.

1:34PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Sad. Tragic. How many prison cells should we have so that all barbarians would not walk among us? Humans should have never polluted this beautiful planet.

3:46PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

More prison sentences being handed down for those convicted of brutalizing or killing animals, be they citizens at home or those employed at shelters, *might* drive some change for the better on this sordid issue - but it's not a guarantee of said improvement. Still, this decompression is utterly vile and should be illegal everywhere!

9:12AM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

how cruel they know they are gonna end up killing the poor animal if they do this to them

11:51PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Are these people nuts !!! and they are teaching our children!! They should be prosecuted!!

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