Pets and Vets: Alaska university accused of failing to provide sufficient veterinary care to resident musk oxen

The agency alleges violations of the Animal Welfare Act after 12 musk oxen died from lack of veterinary care at university facility.
Jun 01, 2014
By staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed a complaint against the University of Alaska Fairbanks for possible Animal Welfare Act violations after 12 musk oxen starved to death at the school's large animal research station, according to the complaint document.

The complaint filed by the agency says the university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, identify that the musk oxen were losing weight or enlist veterinary treatment for the animals. It also says that the animals died or were euthanized between August 2010 and February 2011 and that the "gravity of the violations is great."

The university has yet to formally respond, but spokeswoman Marmian Grimes told the Associated Press that major changes had been implemented in the wake of the deaths. The die-off was blamed on a deficiency of trace minerals such as copper. The animals looked emaciated even though they had access to hay. A failure to file a response to the complaint constitutes an admission of all the material allegations of the complaint, according to the USDA document.