"We took very aggressive action to make sure this sort of thing could not occur again," Roger Van Andel, director of the Office of Laboratory Animal Care at UC Berkeley, told The San Francisco Chronicle.
News of the neglect has angered many animal advocates. "While no penalty -- monetary or otherwise -- can undo the unimaginable suffering of the frightened voles who were trapped in their cages as they experienced excruciating pain before their deaths, we hope the fine compels U.C. Berkeley to ensure that it adheres to the minimal animal welfare standards required by law," said Alka Chandna, a lab oversight specialist with PETA.
Other institutions -- including other UC campuses -- have faced backlash recently, too. In 2012, a macaque monkey at UC Davis was crushed to death as he was playing with the mechanism that kept his cage closed. And the Chronicle reports that things may be even worse at UC San Francisco:
In 2012, The Chronicle reported that incidents of animal neglect or mistreatment persisted at the medical school even after it paid more than $90,000 to settle such violations in the early 2000s. In one instance, a primate was starved for weeks. And during 2008 and 2009, a rhesus monkey was kept in a brain study despite chronic and painful complications. Although there is no evidence of similar violations lately, the campus fired one researcher a year ago after the employee injected mice with the wrong amount of an antiparasitic medicine, killing 110 of them.