Members of animal rights group Animal ACTivists of Philly will on Tuesday hold a six-hour protest outside the University of Pennsylvania, a school they're are calling "a horror show for animals with a long history of abuses" in its labs.
Advocates rallying for World Lab Animal Liberation Week will be on the corner of 34th and Walnut streets between noon and 6 p.m. holding signs and distributing literature about lab animal experimentation.
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A report released last September by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found all eight Ivy League universities had a "disturbingly high" number of Animal Welfare Act violations and ranked the University of Pennsylvania as the worst offender.
The report alleges the University of Pennsylvania housed 15,583 at-risk animals between 2008 and July 2011 and committed a total of 80 welfare violations, including 11 severe breaches and 17 repeat infractions.
The report concludes the school's repeat violations – which allegedly include unkempt facilities, expired medications and the failure of researchers to follow protocol – "point to a practice of sloppy, inattentive care."
"Two 2011 violations demonstrate the ongoing nature of the severe violations," the report reads.
"In one incident of extreme negligence and disregard for animals, a newborn puppy was found dead, trapped beneath a floor grate. The puppy had slipped through the grate unnoticed, and an unknown amount of time passed before his death."
The rally is part of a national day of protest against alleged laboratory animal abuse by research institutions.
Animal rights watchdog Stop Animal Exploitation Now said in a release last week at least 901 U.S. laboratories – about 82 percent of the estimated 1,100 labs in the country –violated the federal Animal Welfare Act last year.
However, only 39 labs were subject to enforcement actions, 10 labs received official warnings and just six labs were fined a total of $60,000, according to the group.
"When animals suffer and die this horribly, the USDA must take action," SAEN Executive Director Michael Budkie said in a statement.
"Murdering monkeys, dogs, cats and rabbits by dehydration, exsanguination or inadequate veterinary care is not the hallmark of an industry which is effectively regulated. These heinous labs deserved federal fines at the very least.”