For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2021
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Davis, Calif. – Today, PETA and a coalition of University of California–Davis students sent letters (Read them here and here) to Dr. Cameron Carter, the school’s presidential chair of neuroscience, urging him to cancel a planned webinar from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) experimenter Shreesh Mysore. PETA has revealed that Mysore illegally conducted invasive experiments on barn owls and has failed to produce any human-relevant data from his studies. Instead, PETA suggests that the school host a webinar that discusses innovations in animal-free research methods.
In the letter, PETA provides a scientific critique and describes how Mysore’s invasive brain experiments—in which owls suffer when their skulls are cut into, electrodes are implanted in their brains, and their eyes are clamped open—do not advance human health or provide educational value. The group also notes that in response to its complaint, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources warned Mysore that he had violated Maryland law by keeping and experimenting on the owls without the mandated permit from 2015 through 2018.
“UC-Davis should not be promoting a campus talk by Shreesh Mysore, who has mutilated sensitive owls in illegal and irrelevant torture experiments for years,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA urges the school to revoke Mysore’s invitation and instead showcase superior, ethical, legal, non-animal research to students.”
Mysore claims that his experiments on owls will shed light on human attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but species-specific differences in hearing and vision between owls and humans make this unlikely. The National Institutes of Health has reported that Mysore’s animal-based projects have a shockingly dismal 5% “Approximate Potential to Translate” to human health—meaning there is little chance that his published papers will be cited in later clinical trials or guidelines. He has also admitted that attaching bolts to animals’ skulls in order to hold their heads in an unnaturally fixed position might cause him to “misinterpret what’s happening or misunderstand” the results.
PETA recently filed a groundbreaking lawsuit to protect the barn owls Mysore uses in his experiments, and the suit is pending. JHU is exempt from state sunshine and cruelty-to-animals laws, despite having maimed owls in illegal tests for years.
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.