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University of New Mexico lab illegally killed animals, watchdog group calls for terminations

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(The Center Square) – SAEN, an Ohio-based watchdog group that monitors research facilities across the United States for fraud and animal abuse, wants the University of New Mexico to fire a researcher who violated regulations so badly that animal subjects died.

The school also had to terminate the project and pay all costs associated with it, which were supposed to be federally funded, according to a press release from SAEN.

The research administration at UNM admitted that several mice were killed because a researcher failed to stick to the approved protocol.

“Failure to adhere to IACUC approved protocols resulting in animal death,” a report from the school said. “The protocol was closed on October 13, 2023.”

SAEN said the report confirms why its calls are correct.

“This report admits a UNM researcher violated federal regulations in a way that directly resulted in animal deaths,” Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., executive director of SAEN, said in the release. “This Principal Investigator must be fired.”

SAEN reached out to UNM President Garnett S. Stokes.

Scientific journals require statements of compliance and various approved protocols as a condition to publish people’s research.

Those who fail to follow approved protocols cannot have their experimental data published.

When projects are suspended or terminated due to noncompliance with the rules, the institution must eat all costs connected to that noncompliance, SAEN said in the release.

“Any Principal Investigator who is so incompetent as to fail to follow their own approved protocol resulting in animal deaths, and in unpublishable data, as well as project termination, should never be allowed to perform animal experimentation again,” Budkie said in the release. “This PI must NOT be given the opportunity to repeat these violations, thereby causing more unnecessary animal suffering and producing nothing but useless data while wasting federal funding.”

One can view SAEN’s Administrative Complaint here.

A UNM spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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