PETA files complaints against CSU research

Corbin Reiter

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed complaints against the Colorado State University Department of Research on account of unethical research practices and has reached out to department administration to help find solutions, according to PETA representative Tasgola Bruner.

Peta filed an initial complaint against CSU in 2018 regarding state licensing and the research of microbiology, immunology and pathology professor Gregory Ebel. Bruner wrote in an email to The Collegian that another email was sent to the Vice President for Research and the Institutional Animal care and Use Committee Chair at CSU March 7.

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Ebel is researching the West Nile Virus and how it affects birds that are native to Colorado. His research is federally funded.

The letter from PETA outlines the concerns about the ethicality of capturing wild animals, the impact of stress on a bird’s immune system, humane research methods, costs versus benefits and problems with federal permitting in regards to this series of experiments.

CSU has released a response and maintains that no illegal actions were taken in early 2018 regarding the collection and experimentation of birds and that they are responding to earlier calls for action set forth by PETA. 

In response to complaints about insufficient permission, CSU said, “The annual federal permit was current during this time, but due to a clerical error there was an inadvertent lapse in the annual state permit during the time birds were collected in 2018.”

According to the statement, CSU is contacting National Institutes of Health in response to the aforementioned clerical error.

“We also are reviewing our protocols tracking processes to add additional checks to ensure licensing is in place,” The University wrote in the statement.

PETA also brought into question the practicing of humane research methods in their email to the Vice President of Research, which was addressed in CSU’s statement.

“CSU experts also review all research projects to ensure our practices meet or exceed the guidelines for animal use,” the University wrote.

CSU further went on to criticize the actions of PETA within their statement calling their actions “intentionally inflammatory and misleading regarding this research and compliance with internal and external requirements.”

The University added the research on the West Nile Virus occurring at CSU will provide invaluable information that will contribute to the well being of citizens of Colorado and beyond.

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“This understanding ultimately will help provide important information about how to save human and animal lives from the effects of viruses in birds,” the University wrote.

The final statement made in the letter poses a question to the administrative staff of the department of research and asks discuss the concerns further.

“Will you meet with PETA scientists in the near future at a location of your choosing? We would appreciate an opportunity to discuss these concerns with you in person. Thank you for your time and consideration.” Catherine Roe, member of PETA, wrote in an email to CSU.

While CSU did not express interest to meet with PETA representatives within their statement, they did address concerns that were mentioned within the letter that PETA sent.

“No animal welfare concerns were or have been reported or found during the course of this study,” CSU wrote in a statement to The Collegian.

Corbin Reiter can be reached at news@collegian.com on Twitter @CorbinReiter.