Court Orders LSU to Pay PETA $73K in Bird Experiment Case

For Immediate Release:
September 6, 2022

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Baton Rouge, La. The 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge has just ordered Louisiana State University (LSU) to pay $73,501.27 in attorney’s fees and costs to PETA, which incurred the expenses during its successful lawsuit seeking public records related to LSU experimenter Christine Lattin’s taxpayer-funded experiments on sparrows.

PETA filed the lawsuit in December 2020 after the school refused to release public documents, including veterinary-care records and videos recorded by Lattin, whose experiments involve trapping sparrows, pumping them with sex hormones, exposing them to terrifying calls from predators, and then killing them. After PETA filed the lawsuit, LSU provided the group with just some of the documents. In January 2022, the court ordered LSU to release them all.

“This court recognizes the importance of Louisiana public records law, which LSU has attempted to evade,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel Lori Kettler. “The public has the right to know how its funds are spent by public institutions. LSU must not be allowed to hide its atrocities.”

In recent years, Lattin has tested birds’ fear of unfamiliar objects (“neophobia”) by withholding food from them for up to 15 hours and then putting random items—such as blinking lights, yellow pipe cleaners, and a blue cocktail umbrella—near their food dishes to see how readily the birds would approach. Lattin then killed them and examined their brains.

PETA along with local counsel—Alysson Mills and Kristen Amond of Mills & Amond LLP—filed the lawsuit against the LSU Board of Supervisors and Thomas Galligan, individually and in his capacity as then-president of LSU, as the school’s designated records custodian under Louisiana law.

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; follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; or click here.

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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