The University of California, Irvine, has admitted it negligently killed six research animals and a watchdog group that monitors U.S. research facilities said Tuesday it wants the school to be fined for its actions.

The school admitted the animal deaths of four rabbits, a sheep and a pig in correspondence to a federal government funding agency and in internal documents, which were never intended to be made public, according to Michael Budkie, co-founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

The correspondence revealed botched surgical procedures, a lack of veterinary care and unqualified staff caused the animal deaths, he said.

The correspondence discusses potential violations of multiple federal animal welfare regulations including requirements for qualified personnel, adequate veterinary care and proper animal handling, Budkie said.

SAEN has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging multiple violations and calling for the opening of a major federal investigation, he said. In addition, SAEN also urged the maximum federal fine of $10,000 per infraction and animal.

“Since this lab has documented multiple failures which led to fatalities, it is clearly time for the USDA to take action,” Budkie said. ”Otherwise animals will continue to die unnecessarily, and federal funds will be squandered.”

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