PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against the University of Pittsburgh’s John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center in Lawrenceville brought investigators from the United States Department of Agriculture for an unannounced four-day inspection of the Pitt facility.
PETA’s complaint alleged violations of the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act.
As evidence of alleged animal abuse, PETA released video shot by a person they say is a PETA employee who went undercover to work at the lab for six months.
Among other things, the video appears to show monkeys in small cages which the organization says causes the animals stress, and a monkey with a cut that the organization claims was not treated with veterinary care. PETA’s Alka Chanda claims these are violations of the Welfare Act.
“What we found at the University of Pittsburgh was that these guidelines were being violated all the time,” she told KDKA investigative reporter Andy Sheehan.
However, according to USDA inspection reports, their staff found no violations at Pitt.
And in a statement, Pitt said: “The University’s animal research program has led to a number of breakthroughs in medical care, and the University of Pittsburgh is committed to the highest standards of care for all research animals.”
PETA is still not satisfied. The organization believes laws protecting laboratory animals are not strong enough and they want to see an end to experimentation on animals altogether.
“Just because we have the power to imprison them and visit upon them every imaginable horror, doesn’t mean we have the right to do that,” said Chanda, who says animal experimentation goes on at many other research universities around the country. “If you were to go to any other research university, Columbia University or Stanford, their monkey facilities would look exactly like the University of Pittsburgh.”
While PETA wants medical science to find other ways of testing drugs and developing new treatments, the Foundation for Biomedical Research says an untold number of medical advancements and cures have resulted from experiments on monkeys and other non-human primates that otherwise would likely not been developed.