WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- Twenty-six U.S. research labs were accused of fraud in a complaint filed Monday by an independent animal research watchdog.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed the complaint with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging a probe of 50 U.S. researchers for allegedly filing fraudulent documents and performing nearly identical experimentation in violation of federal regulations, the organization said in a news release.
"The animal research industry is just as unregulated as Wall Street was before the current economic crisis," said Michael A. Budkie, SAEN executive director. "If this system is not overhauled, the next meltdown will be in research laboratories."
The non-profit group based in Ohio said it filed the complaint following a study of 57 taxpayer-funded research grants valued at more than $110 million during a five-year period. The study concluded the projects have a redundancy index of 5.4 out of a possible 6.
The projects are funded at 26 separate U.S. labs, including Harvard, Stanford, Emory, University of Alabama, University of California campuses at Berkeley, Davis and San Francisco, as well as Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers and Duke. Other labs named in the complaint are Wake Forest, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Vanderbilt, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, Brown University, Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, Salk Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, City College of New York, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Chicago and University of Washington.