The comments are in on VCU’s animal research policy

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The community was asked to weigh in on VCU’s animal research policy and the comments are in.

8News has learned 110 comments were submitted to the university. Of the 110, only five have been flagged as offering true suggestions.

Those five suggestions include allowing the animals to be adopted or retired to sanctuary after the experiments are complete, ending USDA category D and E experiments, these are the most painful of tests and halting research on primates.

As you may recall, 8News exposed that monkeys are being used in opioid research at VCU. In some cases, they are strapped to chairs and injected with heroin and fentanyl to study addiction.

VCU told 8News the remainder of the comments did not address proposed policy. We can see the majority of them called for an end to the animal research, some asked for more transparency but another comment that appears to be from an insider caught our eye.

The person notes seeing staff and students “cutting corners” and “doing surgeries that are not approved resulting in high mortality rates.” In a statement VCU says:

Of the 110 comments received, five were deemed to address specific aspects of the proposed policy. The remainder were general expressions of opinion about animal research which did not address the proposed policy.

The five comments which speak to the proposed policy are being evaluated for consideration as we move forward with the approval process. For example, we have updated the proposed policy to clarify locations of documentation based on the comments we received.

We anticipate final approval by the end of the year.

On July 22, 2019, VCU’s Office of Research and Innovation was notified by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International that the university again received “full accreditation” for our programs of animal care and use. The AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.

All research at VCU that involves animals meets rigorous scientific and ethical standards set by the U.S. Public Health Service. In addition, this work is conducted under continuous oversight by regulatory groups that include the VCU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Further, VCU engages in voluntary accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International.”

statement from Virginia Commonwealth University

To read all the comments click here.

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