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Complaint filed against Lansing laboratory responsible for 159 guinea pig deaths

February 16, 2022
<p>Lansing Capitol building shot from Townsend Street. Photographed on Oct. 1, 2020.</p>

Lansing Capitol building shot from Townsend Street. Photographed on Oct. 1, 2020.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

On Feb. 15, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, filed a federal complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture over a Lansing-area laboratory killing 159 guinea pigs.

SAEN is a national watchdog organization that investigates animal abuse and illegal activities at U.S. research facilities. 

They are seeking the maximum penalty of $10,000 per infraction/per animal, which could generate a $1.59 million fine. 

According to a national research watchdog, the Lansing laboratory, Emergent Biodefense, killed the animals after a malfunctioning fire suppression system sprayed chemicals into the room housing the animals.

The animals were being used in an anthrax experiment. 

Over 50% of the lab’s 24,000 guinea pigs are used in experiments without anesthesia, according to SAEN.

SAEN alleges this incident violates federal law and regulations outlined in the Animal Welfare Act for animal handling and functioning of the laboratories’ Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee.

“Any laboratory which allows animals in a project as potentially dangerous as one involving anthrax to be randomly sprayed with chemicals, should not be trusted to perform hazardous procedures,” Michael A. Budkie, SAEN co-founder, said. “This bungling laboratory should face the maximum penalty.”

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