The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an open investigation into Columbus-based Battelle, but its purpose is unclear.
Mike Foley explains.
USDA spokesperson Tanya Espinosa says the investigation actually began in March of this year. She would not comment on any specifics. The research watchdog group Stop Animal Exploitation Now – based in the Cincinnati area – applauds the investigation and says it’s filed repeated official complaints against the company regarding the treatment of animals. A statement from the company reads - Battelle maintains the highest standards when performing critical medical research. It concludes by stating that The Cincinnati group’s accusations are inflammatory and inaccurate and as per usual we will cooperate with the USDA throughout its monitoring of our research. In November 2014, the USDA issued Battelle an official warning for violation of federal regulations, stating that animals should be handled in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort. The USDA cited three instances of animal fatalities due to water leaking into cages. One in 2012 resulted in the death of a guinea pig. In June of 2014, three guinea pigs were found dead following a leak. Another cage flooding in July that same year resulted in the death of one guinea pig. As for the open investigation, the USDA offered no timeframe for its conclusion.