Eye On Boise

Caine Center head relieved of duties

The University of Idaho announced today that as it continues its investigation into testimony by the head of its Caine Center for Veterinary Medicine that there's no evidence of disease transmission from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep - despite research at the center showing such a link back to 1994 - it is relieving the director of all administrative duties at the center and from all work related to sheep and sheep-related diseases. Marie Bulgin, a professor of veterinary medicine, made the statements in testimony both to the 2009 Idaho Legislature and in federal court documents; she is a past president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association. Lawmakers this year passed legislation protecting domestic sheep ranchers; that short-circuited a collaborative effort to balance interests between wild bighorns and domestic sheep. Click below to read the university's full statement today.

University of Idaho Statement: Update on Bighorn Sheep Research Investigation

“The University of Idaho continues its thorough investigation into the facts surrounding professor of veterinary medicine Marie Bulgin’s testimony before the Idaho legislature during the 2009 session, and her written statements in federal litigation, relating to transmission of disease between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep.  

“The university is committed to integrity and accountability, and takes seriously its responsibility to ensure both. To that end, we are reviewing this case within the framework of all relevant university policies. The institution’s general policies cover issues such as employee conduct, responsibility and accountability.

“To accomplish a complete and timely investigation, and to minimize the impact of the claims and investigation on the research and analysis performed at the Caine Veterinary Teaching Center, the university and Bulgin have agreed that she will take leave from her administrative duties at the Caine Center and will not be involved in  research projects on sheep and sheep-related diseases, nor publish or otherwise disseminate research materials regarding sheep or sheep-related diseases pending the outcome of the university’s investigation. This change takes effect immediately.

“Day-to-day Caine Center operation oversight and supervision of research focused on sheep and sheep-related diseases will be reassigned.

“The university’s investigation is dedicated to both ascertaining a complete understanding of the facts and ensuring that the rights of all involved are respected. Under Idaho law, certain personnel information must remain confidential and we will, of course, honor that requirement. We will conduct our investigation in a timely manner and take appropriate actions according to its results.”

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