Recent incidences of animal abuse require more transparency.
In 2015, UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine was named the top veterinary graduate school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In the same year, UC Davis achieved several incredible feats in animal science, from discovering a cure to a rare form of ear tumors in foxes to nursing over 50 animals injured in the Valley and Butte fires.
With cattle farms steps away from residence halls and new beekeeping courses coming to the school, it’s undeniable that UC Davis is a prominent force in animal science. However, beneath the significant breakthroughs in veterinary medicine, UC Davis has recently become notorious for its mistreatment of animals and lack of transparency concerning animal negligence on the campus.
In 2014, a small lamb was killed after it was crushed by its mother while being transported in a crate from a UC Davis research facility. The incident, which was originally recorded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), wasn’t publicly uncovered until a year later when an animal interest group unearthed the report and exposed UC Davis for its disregard concerning animal safety. Furthermore, UC Davis and USDA have been criticized for burying the incident at the end of the department’s inspection report under the category “Miscellaneous.”
Additionally, UC Davis has been under fire for years for widespread rumors regarding the mistreatment of monkeys at the university’s primate center. Though little to no information is confirmed concerning rumors of escaped monkeys, deceased primates and abused animals, activist groups have been protesting the center regularly for its alleged negligence. The center recently raised suspicion with its decision to search for a public relations firm to represent the organization. Several critics suspect this to be an effort to rehabilitate the center’s reputation following a string of damaging allegations.
As a university that houses thousands of live animals and a leading campus in animal research, UC Davis should have greater transparency when incidents of animal negligence occur. With thousands of students attending UC Davis for its prestige in animal research, it is both unfair and unjust for the university to hide incidents of animal abuse while still publicly celebrating accolades for its strides in animal science.
While a large portion of blame should also be placed on USDA, who monitored and oversaw both incidents, UC Davis should not be excused for failing to consistently protect the welfare of animals. With greater transparency comes greater accountability, and with greater accountability from the public comes potentially fewer instances of animal neglect.
Though, like the primate center defends, violations are bound to occur at every animal research center, there still needs to be a value placed on making these violations known to the public. Because there’s no way around it – animals were harmed and people should know about it.