A Los Angeles Superior Court judge overruled a motion by USC to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Advancing Law for Animals against the University in 2019.
Filed on behalf of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), the lawsuit alleges USC is violating California anti-cruelty laws and engaging in unlawful business practices. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges, among other things, USC killed baby animals by placing them in a carcass-disposal freezer while still alive; performed unauthorized surgeries and injections on animals, including unapproved cranial implantation surgery without documented analgesia; withheld post-operative care from animals, including pain killers and suture removal; and failed to euthanize animals languishing with ulcerated tumors in a timely manner. These practices, according to the lawsuit, reduce USC’s expenses and give USC an advantage over competitors, including other research institutions and universities, amounting to violations of California's Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit also alleges violations of California's False Advertising Law. “USC advertises that it achieves the highest ethical standards in its research. But documents not intended for public view show that USC routinely violates its mandatory research protocols, as well as applicable animal welfare laws and regulations,” said SAEN in the filing. “As a USC graduate, I am disheartened to see my alma mater at the center of another scandal,” added Vanessa Shakib, co-founder and co-director of Advancing Law for Animals.