LUBBOCK, Texas — A press release said Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) accused Texas Tech of killing four animal research subjects.

A federal complaint was filed on June 21 against Texas Tech University by the national watchdog group after it obtained unpublished university records that document the killing of four research subjects, the press release said.  SAEN said the deaths were “negligent.”

The press release said two Texas Tech staff killed research subjects on two separate occasions during oral gavage procedures. (Oral gavage is a procedure to administer liquid compounds into the stomach.)

In one incident, two test subjects aspirated the test material, stated the press release.

SAEN said during the second incident two subjects had perforated esophagi which introduced a foreign substance into the thoracic cavity, all caused by bungling Texas Tech staff, according to the press release. In other words, the procedure damaged the inside of the throats and chests.

The complaint said the test subjects were pigs.

The press release goes on to say:

SAEN’s complaint, filed with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture because the deaths of the four pigs falls under the federal Animal Welfare Act, alleges violations of federal regulations for animal handling and personnel qualifications.  The complaint calls for the maximum penalty of $10,000 per infraction/per animal.

In one case the Texas Tech correspondence obtained by SAEN discusses “agonal breathing” soon after lab staff performed the gavage procedure, meaning that the animals were dying almost immediately. 

“Bungling Texas Tech staff are making a laughing-stock out of the school,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., executive director and co-founder of SAEN.  “How can trained lab staff not know how to do a basic procedure like oral gavage?  These inept people should never be allowed to touch animals again.”

SAEN’s Federal Complaint which contains the Texas Tech report is available at: reached out to Texas Tech for comment. If the offer is accepted, we will provide an update.

Update: A line was added to this story to indicate that according to the complaint, the test subjects were pigs.