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NIH asks UConn to return grant money

The National Institutes of Health is asking that the University of Connecticut return $65,005 in grant money for not complying with animal welfare laws, according to an Email sent to the university health center by the National Eye Institute. The bulk of the money had been award to the university for research performed by neurologist linkurl:David Waitzman.;http://grad.uchc.edu/phdfaculty/waitzman.html Between the fall of 2005 and summer of 2006, Waitzman received several citations from the US

By | January 28, 2008

The National Institutes of Health is asking that the University of Connecticut return $65,005 in grant money for not complying with animal welfare laws, according to an Email sent to the university health center by the National Eye Institute. The bulk of the money had been award to the university for research performed by neurologist linkurl:David Waitzman.;http://grad.uchc.edu/phdfaculty/waitzman.html Between the fall of 2005 and summer of 2006, Waitzman received several citations from the US Department of Agriculture for performing unapproved procedures on rhesus macaques while studying how the brain controls eye movement. In January 2007, Waitzman stopped research on the macaques at the urging of the university, which you can read more about linkurl:here.;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/49079/ Since then, he has not performed research on primates, according to Carolyn Pennington, a spokeswoman for the University of Connecticut Health Center. On January 15 the NIH sent a letter to Leonard Pauplauskas, associate vice president for research administration at the UConn Health Center, stating that the Office of Animal Welfare (OLAW) had investigated the incidences of noncompliance. "Based on the investigation, OLAW has determined that funds need to be returned to the NEI during this period of noncompliance," the letter states. The university is considering an appeal to the grant money recall, Carolyn Pennington told the linkurl:Hartford Courant.;http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-ctuconnmonkey0125.artjan25,0,1360460.story. The letter from the NIH came "out of no where," Pennington told The Scientist. "They ask for a certain amount of money, no real explanation, or why this amount," she said. A statement sent to The Scientist by the NIH said: "Federally-supported scientists are accountable from the time they first plan their research to the time the research is completed to protect the welfare of animals in research. With regard to grant awards, no costs for activities with animals may be charged to a NEI grant award during any period of time that a grantee institution is not in compliance with the terms and conditions of the award."
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Avatar of: Justin Goodman

Justin Goodman

Posts: 1

January 29, 2008

Thank you for covering this very important story. One aspect you did not mention is that none of the violations that occurred in David Waitzman?s laboratory would have come to light had it not been for concerned students. And it was People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that asked the NIH to investigate and request a grant refund (http://media.www.dailycampus.com/media/storage/paper340/news/2007/09/14/News/Peta-return.Grant.Money-2969367.shtml) \n\nSince 2005, University of Connecticut students and community members have worked tirelessly to expose Waitzman?s violent experiments in which monkeys have holes drilled into their heads, steel coils implanted in their eyes, and are then killed. Their grassroots efforts not only revealed the horrific laboratory itself, but were responsible for exposing more than 20 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. The violations include administering unauthorized injections, causing unnecessary trauma and physical harm to animals, failure to give animals sufficient sedatives for invasive procedures, and failure to painlessly euthanize animals who were in severe and chronic distress. Reports also show that employees were not adequately qualified and trained to handle primates.\n\nIn addition to being ordered to return $65,005 to the NIH, the university was fined $5,532 by the USDA in June 2007 for violations of animal protection laws, including one incident in Waitzman's laboratory in which an employee used a metal collar on a pole to lift a monkey by his neck, causing the animal's eyes to bleed.\n\nReturning the grant money won't bring back the monkeys who suffered and died in David Waitzman's laboratory, but the revocation of Waitzman's grant sends a clear message to experimenters: Using tax dollars to abuse animals won't be tolerated.\n\nJustin Goodman\nResearch Associate\nPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals\n\n

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