The University of Wisconsin has been accused of bullying a senior veterinarian into resigning after he spoke out against animal welfare abuses at their research facility.
UW has been cited over twenty times for violations of the Animal Welfare Act in the past year and a half, and its consistent noncompliance with even the bare minimum of standards imposed by the AWA has been a source of criticism, both from within the university and without.
From within the university, Dr. Richard “Jim” Brown has raised concerns about the welfare of the animals in the school’s labs. Brown was a senior program veterinarian at the university’s Research Animal Resource Center, where he says he was bullied and retaliated against for raising such concerns.
Brown quit earlier this month after over five years on the job, and called his resignation a “coercive termination,” saying he made many enemies at the RARC for constantly raising concerns about animals in their facilities that weren’t being properly cared for.
Dr. Brown isn’t an animal rights activist, but can see that the university is pulling in enormous amounts of money and isn’t using the funding to fulfill the promise made to the public that the animals used for experimentation are “well-cared for.” The University of Wisconsin receives over one billion dollars annually for research.
The problem here is obvious: that even in the most prestigious and well-funded research facilities in the developed world, the animals are denied proper medical care, and their needs for food and water are neglected, all while being subjected to what which would be called torture if it were done to a human. And if anyone tries to raise an alarm about it, they are told – as Jim Brown was – that “silence was a condition of continued employment.”
Animal testing is more than just a scientific farce and inhuman torture, it’s also big business. A billion dollars a year in research funds means a lot of people have a vested interest in seeing the continuation of vivisection at UW, no matter the cost in animal life. Just like every other industry that exploits, tortures, and murders animals, the bottom line is the only concern.
Jim Brown contacted me in regard to this story, and he referred to animal testing as “expensive, time-consuming, misleading and addictive,” and said that the lure of research funds will keep animal testing going until the government mandates non-animal research in laboratories.
The solution to these problems isn’t complicated, but it is daunting. We have to end all animal testing forever.
More regulation or stricter consequences will not solve the problem. If these facilities cannot meet the laughably minimum standards in place now, it is obviously a sign of a broader and more serious problem: that animals can never be treated with respect and compassion as long as they are viewed as the inanimate property of humans to be used for whatever frivolous purpose we see fit.
To end the greed, the bullying, the scientific regression, and the torture and murder of innocent animals, there is no other way but to end vivisection altogether.
UPDATE:For those of you who are wondering what you can do about this situation, Jim Brown has sent me a list of people you can contact.
1) Contact Biddy Martin, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison at 608-262-9946, and/or
2) Contact Darrell Bazzell, Vice-Chancellor of Administration at 608-262-9943 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or
3) Contact Eric Sandgren, Director of Research Animal Resources Center, at email@example.com or 608-890-0795 or 608-262-1238, and/or Janet Welter, Chief Campus Veterinarian, at 608-265-2695, and/or
4) William Mellon, Assoc Dean of The Graduate School, and Institutional Official for the university, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-262-1044, and/or
5) Martin Cadwallader, Dean of The Graduate School at email@example.com or 608-262-1044., and/or
Then call your senator/congressperson, especially if you don’t live in Wisconsin, and ask why your money is going to there. Ask your representatives to request the Office of the Inspector General (IOG) of the USDA/APHIS provide them with a copy of the on-going investigation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.