PETA Calls on CSU to Stop Trapping and Killing Birds in West Nile Experiments

Crows, Robins, and Sparrows Are Trapped, Infected With West Nile Virus, and Killed in Curiosity-Driven, Taxpayer-Funded Tests

For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2018

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Fort Collins, Colo. – PETA has sent a letter urging Tony Frank, the president of Colorado State University (CSU), to put an end to experiments at the school in which American crows, American robins, and house sparrows are trapped, infected with West Nile virus, and killed.

In the letter, PETA notes that CSU experimenter Gregory Ebel injects wild-caught birds with West Nile virus, subjects them to multiple blood draws (including from their jugular veins), and keeps them alive while the virus disseminates into their lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, and central nervous system. The birds develop fevers and anorexia and have difficulty controlling their bodily movements. Some species—including crows—experience systemic infections followed by multiple organ failure and death.

“We already know that the transmission of West Nile virus can be controlled by eliminating mosquito breeding sites, yet CSU is capturing birds from the wild—possibly leaving their vulnerable infants behind—and sentencing them to agonizing deaths,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “These indefensibly cruel experiments don’t help birds or humans, and PETA is calling on President Frank to put an end to them.”

PETA notes that Ebel’s study doesn’t aim to develop a vaccine or treatment for West Nile virus in either birds or humans. Rather, its purpose is to understand, as an academic manner, the behavior of the virus in different host species. Ebel himself admits that viral mechanisms, including virulence and pathogenicity, differ radically between species—and as such, it follows that his experiments are of little relevance to West Nile virus infections in human populations.

PETA’s letter is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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