UW-Madison Closes Controversial Lab: Last Cats Saved, Adopted

Lab Ends Invasive Brain Experiments on Cats Following PETA Campaign, Public Pressure

For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2015

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

Following an extensive PETA campaign to end cruel sound localization experiments on cats at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-Madison), the embattled laboratory has quietly closed its doors, its lead investigator has retired, and the remaining cats have been released.

At least two cats, 3-year-old tabbies Rainbow and Mango, were adopted, a welcome first for the laboratory, which was the subject of increasing criticism from the public and even members of its own campus.

For decades, dozens of the cats in this laboratory were killed and dissected after having holes drilled into their skulls, metal restraint posts screwed into their heads, and steel coils implanted in their eyes and being subjected to years of stressful experiments on their brains and ears. Both Rainbow and Mango underwent these procedures when they were just 1 year old.

“We’re thrilled that no more cats will suffer in this laboratory and that those who survived are safe,” said PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “PETA’s campaign and the intense public pressure it brought to bear on UW-Madison have ended this horrendous laboratory’s legacy of cruelty at last.”

PETA’s campaign, which began with a successful open-records battle with UW-Madison to obtain harrowing photos of an orange tabby named Double Trouble and other cats mutilated and killed inside this laboratory, exposed millions of people to the cruelty that cats were forced to endure at UW-Madison. The campaign included demonstrations, phone blockades, more than 369,000 e-mails from PETA supporters, civil disobedience by Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell, a citywide ad campaign on buses, and federal complaints that prompted the government to document immense suffering, fine the university, demand reforms in the laboratory, and even take the rare step of suspending the bulk of the project for six months.

For more information, please visit PETA.org/UWCats.

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