Dispatches from the Sunshine State

University of South Florida and animal testing


Ever wonder what kind of animal research goes down at the University of South Florida? Well, thanks to a recent Humane Society lawsuit, you can find out with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently posted animal testing reports from the nation’s research facilities on its website. The annual reports — which contain information on what kind of animals are used and if the experiments are painful — are required by law, but until now, only available after a lengthy Freedom of Information Act request.

So, what kind of creatures live in USF’s labs? In 2008, the university conducted experiments on 410 hamsters, 212 pigs, 208 guinea pigs, 56 primates, nine rabbits, four gerbils and four cats.

Unfortuately, the information included in the reports is not complete. Mice, rats, fish and birds are excluded from the reports. Also, the documents lack specifics on the experiments themselves.

But — and this is the point where you all gasp — the reports do separate the animals into categories: those animals used for breeding; animals used for experiments that didn’t involve pain; animals used for experiments that did cause pain or distress, but researchers used anesthetics; and animals used for experiments that did cause pain or distress, but aesthetics were not used.

About a quarter of the hamsters and four monkeys fell into the latter category.

The animal rights blog News for Florida Animal Advocates listed some of the other research facilities in Florida and brought up a great point about the lack of information in the reports: Shouldn’t the people of Florida know the nature of the testing and why alternatives to animals were not used?

Speaking of animal cruelty, did you hear about Glenn Beck and “Frog-gate?”

(h/t to News for Florida Animal Advocates)

(Photo courtesy of DanielJames/Flickr)