PETA Supporters at University's International Symposium Will Demand an End to Deadly West Nile Virus Tests on Birds
For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Fort Collins, Colo. – On Thursday, PETA supporters will descend on Colorado State University (CSU) President Joyce McConnell’s session at the school’s International Symposium to urge her to end experimenter Gregory Ebel’s deadly, curiosity-driven experiments on wild-caught crows, robins, and sparrows. The action comes in the wake of a new study that reveals a staggering decline of bird populations—around 3 billion birds have been lost in the U.S. and Canada since 1970.
When: Thursday, February 27, 9 a.m.
Where: CSU Lory Student Center, Longs Peak Room (Room 302), 1101 Center Ave. Mall, Fort Collins
Ebel traps the birds, infects them with West Nile virus, and kills them. Infected birds develop a fever and anorexia and have difficulty controlling their bodily movements. Some species—including American crows—experience systemic infections followed by multiple organ failure and death. Ebel himself admits that viral mechanisms differ radically among species, making his experiments irrelevant in treating West Nile virus in humans. Moreover, the stress experienced by birds in captivity limits the applicability of Ebel’s tests to wild bird populations. In response to a PETA complaint, Colorado Parks and Wildlife cited and fined Ebel and suspended his license after he trapped 37 crows in 2018 without the required state permit.
PETA also points out that systemic and ongoing violations of federal animal welfare laws in CSU’s animal experimentation program have led to the injury, suffering, and death of animals. According to a just-posted federal report, three bats died—presumably from suffocation—after being inadvertently folded into a shade cloth that was slated to be cleaned. Additionally, photos recently obtained by PETA through a Freedom of Information Act request depict the worsening conditions of a mare with a cloudy, swollen eye and an underweight sheep. Dogs and cats used in experiments were denied any pain relief, and a llama died after losing 25% of his bodyweight. Enclosures contained sharp points that could injure animals, food troughs had caked-on debris that was an inch thick, and water receptacles contained a green, algae-like growth. Experimenters also deviated from protocols approved by the school’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
“CSU has demonstrated time and time again that it can’t—or won’t—comply with minimum animal welfare regulations,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is asking CSU President Joyce McConnell to conduct a thorough audit and address the chronic violations documented by federal inspectors—and pay special attention to the laboratory of Gregory Ebel, who captures healthy crows, robins, and other birds from their natural homes, infects them with West Nile virus, and kills them.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.