Cats Starved, Mice Denied Pain Relief in LSU Labs

PETA Uncovers Federal Records Revealing Multiple Animal Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2022

Contact:
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Baton Rouge, La. – After uncovering chronic and egregious federal animal welfare violations in Louisiana State University (LSU) laboratories—such as withholding pain relief from mice before and after surgeries and neglecting to provide animals with food and water for days at a time—today, PETA urged LSU President William Tate to prohibit experimenter and staff violators from having any contact with animals. PETA is also calling on the university to redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methods.

According to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, LSU violated federal animal welfare guidelines 12 times from May 2018 to October 2021. Among the violations, 18 cats and 20 parrots were not fed or watered for an entire weekend, causing one cat to develop stress-induced bloody vomit. One experimenter purposely withheld all pain medication for mice before and after cutting into their skulls and affixing head caps. The hunched and lethargic animals were not euthanized until three days later. Other violations included using a dog in an ophthalmology procedure—even though the experiment was over—using more animals in an experiment than the university approved, and not following the approved experimental protocol.

While these violations occurred, LSU still received over $17 million in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health last year.

“Providing pain relief after an invasive surgery and food and water is the absolute bare minimum LSU could do for these suffering animals,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is calling on LSU’s president to boot the violators from all animal laboratories permanently and shut down its animal experimentation program.”

In the letter, PETA also asks for an end to experiments carried out by LSU’s Christine Lattin, who captures wild birds and subjects them to distressing, painful, and medically irrelevant studies. These are curiosity-driven experiments that, according to documents obtained by PETA from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, may have caused torment and death to as many as 1,090 birds from 2019 to 2020 alone. So far, over 160,000 PETA supporters have called on LSU to stop Lattin’s bird torment.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind