‘Years’ of Illegal Owl Experiments at Johns Hopkins: State Confirms PETA Tip

State Authorities Say Owl-Torture Lab Could Face Shutdown if Violations Continue; PETA Urges Feds to Recoup Misspent Taxpayer Funds

For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


In response to a formal complaint from PETA, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has just confirmed that Johns Hopkins University (JHU) experimenter Shreesh Mysore illegally conducted gruesome and deadly brain experiments on owls without mandatory permits for “years”—apparently from 2015 to 2018, according to public records obtained by PETA.

The DNR tells PETA that the agency sent a letter to Mysore warning him “to renew the permit annually” and that “operating under an inactive permit is a violation of [Maryland state law] and subject to potential enforcement action and foreclosure of the research project.” And because the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires all grant recipients to be in compliance with all laws and regulations, PETA is now calling on NIH to recoup the portion of the  $1,969,546 in taxpayer money received by Mysore that he spent illegally on these experiments.

“Johns Hopkins operated an illegal owl-torture laboratory for years,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on federal authorities to strip experimenter Shreesh Mysore of his taxpayer funding and stop him from mutilating and killing any more protected birds.”

In his experiments, Mysore cuts into barn owls’ skulls, implants electrodes in their brains, forces the birds into plastic tubes or jackets so cramped that they can’t move their wings, clamps their eyes open, and bombards them with sounds and lights for up to 12 hours. Eventually, the owls are killed.

Mysore purports to experiment on owls to research human attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, despite hearing and vision differences between the species. NIH 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. Mysore 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; the suit is pending.

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; follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; or click here.

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.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

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.