The University of Wyoming was found in violation of the Animal Welfare Act during a routine inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in early July.
The department’s report found that personnel did not perform adequate daily observations and failed to communicate the health conditions of two sheep to a veterinarian. Sheep #8020 died due to complications from a urinary condition and did not receive adequate care. Sheep #7070 was found alive but thin with a protruding spine and hip bones.
Director of Research Integrity and Compliance Carolyn Broccardo said immediately following the USDA inspection sheep #7070, who is old and struggles to eat because of worn teeth, received care.
“We were also able to communicate with folks who take care of the animals and to reiterate the importance and requirements that they have to contact a veterinarian immediately should there be any animal welfares concern whatsoever,” said Broccardo.
She said UW personnel who work with research study animals are receiving additional training on when to involve a veterinarian.
“Sometimes things can crop up and if the animal caretakers don’t contact the vet, the vet doesn’t know to come out and take a look at the animal,” said Broccardo. “So I think it comes back to really good communication between those folks who take care of the animals and the attending veterinarian.”
The USDA’s report has been circulated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.