Group wants school fined after musk oxen deaths

October 11, 2011 - 2:00 PM

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An animal rights group wants the University of Alaska Fairbanks investigated and fined following the deaths of at least a dozen musk oxen at the school's large-animal research station.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report, released this week by the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now, says the animals died or were euthanized because of chronic malnutrition and emaciation.

The Aug. 30 report says research staff was told not to contact the attending veterinarian about the health problems for fear of reprisal from the school's Office of Research Integrity, with which the veterinarian was also involved.

The group's executive director, Michael Budkie, has asked the USDA to investigate the university and to levy the largest fine possible.

University spokeswoman Marmian Grimes says most of the deaths in the report happened about a year ago and corrective action has been taken. She says the herd today is in good health.