The University of Alaska is the latest in a string of colleges to be targeted by the USDA for disturbing animal welfare issues -- this one for the starvation deaths of 12 musk oxen at the school's research station. According to the AP:
The university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, identify that the musk oxen were losing weight or enlist veterinary treatment for the animals, the agency's complaint says. It says the animals died or were euthanized between Aug. 29, 2010, and Feb. 16, 2011. The musk oxen deaths represented the biggest die-off of the school's herd since it was established more than 30 years ago.
The fines, which follow a request by the animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) to investigate the school, could total as much as $10,000 per animal.
A spokesperson for the university maintains that major changes have been made at the research station since the incident. But Michael Budkie, SAEN's executive director, said he was glad that the USDA was taking action.