Reading Time: 2 minutes Campaigners accused the university of 'indifference to animal suffering' (Photo: Licensed from Adobe. Do not use without permission)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vegan charity PETA is seeking an investigation and possible cruelty charges against Texas A&M University (TAMU) after discovering that an animal used for experimentation died from heatstroke.

The charity says it has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showing that TAMU received a citation for a ‘critical’ violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act after a pig used for experimentation there died from apparent heatstroke.

“According to the report, the animal died in July after being left outdoors in the blistering summer heat with no shelter or water for approximately five hours,” said PETA.

Cruelty investigation

After reading the report, PETA sent a letter to the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office, calling on it to investigate TAMU and ‘as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible for the pig’s death’.

“The culture of indifference to animal suffering at Texas A&M is appalling, and the school should face legal consequences for this pig’s agonizing death,” PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said in a statement.

“Just as we would if a dog died after being locked in a hot car, PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into this pig’s death. The university must learn from this incident and pull the plug on all animal experiments, starting with its horrendously cruel canine muscular dystrophy experiments.”

Heat stroke

A TAMU spokesperson sent a statement to Plant Based News, saying: “Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences strives to provide exceptional care in overseeing thousands of animals who are helping across multiple research disciplines. Unfortunately, one of these animals – a 563-pound Yorkshire boar — died after an employee left it without shade or water for just over five hours.

“The incident was reported to managers in the employee’s chain of command and the employee was terminated with cause. The university apologizes to fellow animal care and research teams within Texas A&M who work hard to earn a reputation of excellence, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and to the public.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a citation to the university for the July 30, 2018 incident, saying the presumed cause of death was heat stroke and that prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and lack of water likely contributed to its death.”

The University says it has put measures into place to ensure ‘such an incident never happens again’.

*This article was updated on October 24 to reflect TAMU’s response to Plant Based News’ request for comment.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.