On Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) issued a summary report regarding allegations of noncompliance with the Public Health Service policy on the humane care and use of laboratory animals in a hearing study. The report’s conclusions, while noting changes to enhance the care of animals and potentially improve research outcomes, confirms that cats in the study were healthy, well cared for and treated humanely and appropriately, as called for by Public Health Service policy and the Animal Welfare Act.
The report was prompted by allegations of mistreatment made by the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). According to the summary report, all of the allegations made by the animal rights organization proved baseless. The OLAW investigation is the third review of the lab and its animal subjects by the federal government, all instigated by PETA within the past year. To date, none of the many allegations of mistreatment made by the organization to the U.S. Department of Agriculture or OLAW have been substantiated.
“Contrary to the misleading claims made by PETA, the conclusions cited in the OLAW report reflect our view that the animals in the study are in excellent health, are well treated and cared for, and used to further important research in an appropriate and humane manner,” says Dan Uhlrich, UW-Madison associate vice chancellor for research policy. “Significant university and federal resources have been repeatedly redirected to respond to these unfounded allegations. This is a questionable use of scarce and valuable public resources, which we feel damages the best interests of the public, science, affected researchers, and the dedicated animal care and veterinary staffs responsible for the health and wellbeing of our animals.”