Vanderbilt University

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - The Vanderbilt University research administration recently suspended an animal experiment following the deaths of multiple animals in an illegally performed experiment, according to a release from Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

An employee with Vanderbilt was also suspended indefinitely during this time.

SAEN is an Ohio-based national watchdog that monitors U.S. research facilities for illegal activities and animal abuse.

A complaint against Vanderbilt has been filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the deaths of five animals in what were called "failed ventilator testing procedures."

"I am very concerned that this phrase 'failed ventilator testing procedures' could mean that these five guinea pigs suffocated," said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., SAEN co-founder, in the federal complaint.

The SAEN complaint alleges violations of federal regulations for animal handling, and for project supervision by Vanderbilt's Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC).

The complaint also raises the possibility that Vanderbilt may have failed to report the project suspension to the federal regulator at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

The latest animal deaths at Vanderbilt follow the issuance of two serious non-compliances by the USDA against the laboratory in consecutive years, 2019 & 2020.

Serious citations (Critical or Direct) appear in only two percent of all USDA inspections of US laboratories.

"The fact that Vanderbilt has received Critical/Direct citations in two consecutive years puts this facility among the worst laboratories in the entire nation," added Budkie. "Now Vanderbilt has killed five more animals, and potentially hidden the project suspension from the USDA."

Previous reports cited Vanderbilt for failing to provide adequate veterinary care to six rabbits who received painful injections into their eyes, and  for the illegal deaths of 17 gerbils during multiple botched procedures over the course of 10 months.

SAEN's Federal Complaint, which includes the relevant federal report and USDA inspections of Vanderbilt is available here. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Content Producer

Blake was born and raised in Central Ohio where he began working in TV broadcast in 2011 before moving into morning radio. Blake joined the WSMV team in October 2019. Any news stories and ideas can be sent directly to

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