Journal asked to retract OWU article


An animal rights organization has asked a medical journal to retract an Ohio Wesleyan University article.

The same organization — Milborn, Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) — filed a complaint against OWU early last month.

The research watchdog group said it has filed a federal complaint against OWU, calling for an investigation of the university by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as a fine. The group said a USDA inspection in April report cited the university for four violations of the Animal Welfare Act for spinal research done using guinea pigs.

According to a news release issued on Wednesday by SAEN, “Spinal Cord journal should retract an Ohio Wesleyan piece because it violated Spinal Cord’s editorial policies as well as the Committee on Publication Ethics Code of Conduct.”

SAEN said the journal requires all published articles include a statement of ethics “stating that all applicable institutional and governmental regulations concerning the ethical use of animals were followed during the course of the research.”

“The citations show that the article should be retracted due to Ohio Wesleyan University’s failure to seek alternatives, filing fraudulent USDA reports, and general non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act,” the SAEN release said.

Ohio Wesleyan University spokesman Cole Hatcher responded to SAEN’s action.

“The research in question was not conducted at Ohio Wesleyan,” Hatcher said in an email. “One of our faculty members was involved in the research as a graduate student. (But the findings were published only recently.)”

Further, Hatcher wrote: “Ohio Wesleyan’s latest USDA review did not report any concerns with the research in question or with the care of the animals — only that additional reporting was necessary. The mandated internal reviews of our research protocols already were being completed, and our written reports will state this explicitly moving forward.”

“It seems as though the officials at Ohio Wesleyan were basically asleep at the wheel as far as supervising these experiments,” said Michael Budkie, executive director of SAEN, in early May. “We think that the USDA should take serious enforcement actions against Ohio Wesleyan to make sure this never happens again.”