A former university employee is facing up to two years imprisonment after he starved over 100 lab mice to death in a research facility in Austria.
More than 100 laboratory mice died of thirst and hunger after an ex animal keeper from the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna) in Austria did not feed them for seven days.
According to the accusations the man had failed to give the mice either food or water from 20th until 27th November 2020.
The case was reported to the public prosecutor by the Animal Protection Organisation ‘Tierschutz Austria’ (TSA) who filed criminal charges against the animal testing laboratory for violating the Animal Welfare Act in December 2020.
The organisation referred to Paragraph 222 of the Criminal Code according to which the former employee has inflicted “unnecessary torture” on the animals which is punishable by a prison sentence.
The defendant was employed as an animal keeper at the mouse breeding laboratory at the Center for Biomedical Research at the MedUni Vienna, but was immediately sacked after the animal welfare organisation uncovered the affair.
MedUni Vienna which is the largest medical school in the country and one of the most important research institution on the continent apologised for the incident.
Association against Animal Factories (VGT) campaigner Roland Hoog said: “It’s terrible – these little mice are already housed in a most unsuitable manner anyway. Starving and dying of thirst in this way is incredibly cruel. It’s a real scandal!”
The activist who demanded justice added: “Mice do not starve or die of thirst overnight. Apparently, there must have been a comprehensive lack of care and control.”
According to the latest animal experiment statistics a total of 205,858 mice used for animal experiments in 2019.
The former animal keeper who failed to take proper care of the mice and who has not been named by local media is facing up to two years imprisonment if convicted.
The trial begins on Monday on 31st May 2021.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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