HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi released a statement Tuesday evening to Seven On Your Side addressing recent allegations of abuse to animals in one of their research labs.
The explanation is as followed:
Seven On Your Side requested access to the research facility Monday, but the primary researcher denied our request, citing that any disruption to the animal's routine, including individuals that they do not know, can cause undue stress to their well being.
The facility also said that specific research activities in the lab are underway, and could be disrupted if the bushbabies' welfare were to be compromised.
The statement went on to say that the research facility is regularly inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture and USM's Internal Animal Care and Use Committee.
According to a news release issued by an animal activist group called SAEN, (Stop Animal Exploitation NOW) a whistle blower contacted the group alleging that bushbabies housed at the research facility were displaying psychologically abnormal and self-destructive behavior.
According to Michael Budkie, a representative for SAEN, he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on January 24 outlining the allegations.
Budkie sited in his complaint to the USDA a report printed in a medical journal by the research facility in 2009 addressing the bushbabies' behavior, and two separate USDA inspection reports citing rabbits and hamsters being infested with ticks.
According to Budkie, the whistle blower came forward to the group within the past three months with the abuse allegations, and said that the complaint he filed would have to be investigated by the USDA soon to be in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.
This is a developing story. Seven on Your Side will report any additional information as it becomes available.