The U.S. Department of Agriculture found six repeat violations of animal welfare rules on a follow-up visit to UW-Madison this week, including expired medications and cockroaches infesting walls in two rooms that house primates.
In one case, a researcher did not prove sufficiently that he or she had considered alternatives to a painful procedure on animals, according to the report.
The visit was to check-up on whether UW-Madison had fixed 20 violations found in an inspection in December.
Eric Sandgren, director of UW-Madison's animal care and use programs, said the university fixed all of the violations after that visit, but they were either "not corrected well enough or didn't stay corrected."
"We should have been at 100 percent," he said. "We should have had no problems. When it's a follow-up and it's seven months later, there's no reason we should have had any."
The university is facing an investigation by an arm of the USDA. It could merit fines of up to $10,000 per non-compliant item per day, Sandgren said. The agency does not have to levy the maximum fine, he said, and the school will have an opportunity to defend itself against the findings.
UW-Madison has a vast animal program, with more than 7,000 people certified to work with animals in more than 50 facilities, Sandgren said.
In December, the university was cited for expired medications. Sandgren said internal investigators checked and removed all of the old drugs. But, in one lab, the USDA found medication that expired in 2006, which is prompting a university investigation to find out whether someone brought an expired drug back, Sandgren said.
The December review also cited the university for five studies where researchers failed to show they had tried to find an alternative to painful experiments on animals. Researchers successfully modified four of those studies; the fifth did not pass muster with the USDA.
The school was also cited for two rooms with walls adjacent to primate housing, and a light fixture above the animals, that were infested with cockroaches. Sandgren said the university is changing how it controls pests in those areas.