Following PETA Complaint, Feds Confirm CSU Crow Experimenter Violated Law

National Institutes of Health Confirms That Federal Funding May Not Be Used for Illegal Activity, PETA Files Second Federal Complaint

For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Fort Collins, Colo.

In response to a PETA complaint, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has confirmed that Colorado State University (CSU) experimenter Gregory Ebel captured and likely experimented on dozens of wild crows illegally. CSU has also acknowledged that Ebel failed to apply for a state permit, as required by Colorado law, before trapping 37 American crows in 2018. PETA is demanding that any surviving birds be immediately released and that no future permits be issued.

PETA has also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after determining that CSU failed to include the birds trapped, used, and killed by Ebel in its reports to the federal government, as required by law.

NIH has notified CSU that Ebel cannot use federal grant money for activities related to trapping birds without a permit, writing that CSU is “reconciling grant expenditures” associated with the illegal activity.

“Ebel has demonstrated as much contempt for state and federal laws as he does for crows,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is calling on Colorado Parks & Wildlife to refuse to Ebel future permits and urging CSU to pull the plug on his cruel experiments.”

In 2017, Ebel received a permit to capture 132 American crows and 168 American robins. Following infection with West Nile virus, the birds develop a fever and anorexia and have difficulty controlling their bodily movements. Some species—including crows—experience systemic infections followed by multiple organ failure and death. His study doesn’t aim to develop a vaccine or a treatment for the virus in either birds or humans. Ebel admits that viral mechanisms, including virulence and pathogenicity, differ radically between species—and as such, his experiments have little relevance to treating West Nile virus infections in humans.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on,” and the group opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist view that other animals are commodities to capture, cage, and kill at will.

PETA’s letters to CSU and Colorado Parks & Wildlife, as well as its complaint to the USDA, are available upon request. For more information, please visit

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