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Laboratory Watchdog Sues USC for Animal Abuse

LOS ANGELES — The University of Southern California is violating California anti-cruelty laws and engaging in unlawful business practices, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Advancing Law for Animals filed the lawsuit on behalf of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), a national, nonprofit watchdog group that monitors U.S. research facilities for illegal activities and animal abuse.


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-Director of Advancing Law for Animals.


Complaint available here.