Under the Animal Welfare Act, research facilities are required to file annual reports with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stating how many regulated* animals they used, if any painful experiments were conducted and if pain-relieving drugs were provided to suffering animals.
The problem has been that these reports were only available by filing a Freedom of Information Act request, and it often took years to receive the requested documents.
This week, as a result of a Humane Society of the United States lawsuit, the USDA posted annual reports from 2008 on its website. The USDA has promised to post future annual reports in a timely manner.
We’ve reviewed the annual reports submitted by facilities in Florida. The reports provide valuable but limited information. We learn the number and species of animals used, but there is very little information about the experiments themselves, such as why researchers rejected non-animal alternatives.
Some of what we learned:
- At the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, 114 sheep and 69 pigs were used in experiments in FY08 (between September 30, 2007 and October 1, 2008).
- 863 voles were used by researchers at Florida State University.
- 252 monkeys were used in experiments at The Mannheimer Foundation in Homestead.
- 212 pigs were used in experiments at the University of South Florida (in addition to cats, rabbits, monkeys and hundreds of guinea pigs and hamsters).
- At the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami, 6 dogs and 73 frogs were used in experiments.
- Researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando used 54 pigs in experiments.
*Mice, rats, fish and birds are excluded from the limited protections of the Animal Welfare Act, despite the fact that they make up approx. 95% of all animals used in research. It is likely that tens of thousands of mice and rats are killed in laboratories in Florida each year.
The 2008 annual reports from Florida’s largest research facilities– University of Florida, University of Miami and The Scripps Research Institute– have not been posted on the USDA website. We will check back for these reports, and let you know what we learn. Click here to learn more about animal experimentation in Florida.