PETA urges CSU president to end crow experimentation

Laura Studley

woman addresses board of governors
Amanda Brody, an assistant campaigner for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, addresses Colorado State University’s Board of Governors during the public comment section and asked CSU to end its research into the West Nile virus that involves testing on crows. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

Protesters for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals gathered outside of the Translational Medicine Institute to urge Colorado State University’s President, Tony Frank, to end Gregory Ebel’s experiments on wild-caught birds.

Ebel’s research began in 2003, according to the CSU department of microbiology, immunology and pathology. Ebel’s research has been characterized as an attempt to further understand the genetics of how viruses, like West Nile, emerge and how these viruses spread due to environmental change, the increased rate of tropical megacities, global travel and trade, according to a previous University statement.


“These experiments don’t help birds or humans,” said Amanda Brody, assistant campaigner for PETA. “Our taxpayer dollars have been spent killing birds in these useless experiments that have failed to develop a cure, a vaccine or a treatment of symptoms for this disease in either birds or humans.”

Public Relations Director Mike Hooker said that during the Board of Governors’ meeting, they set aside time for public comments, explaining that the Board welcomes input on all topics.

In an email to The Collegian, Hooker wrote, “Research is essential for understanding how viruses such as West Nile survive in and spread among bird, animal and human populations and what happens when these viruses enter new ecosystems.”

“It is a dangerous message to our youth to say the end justifies the means. We need to inspire youth to serve humanity and animals in a way where the means is also humane.” – Rebekah Shardy, protester

During the public comment section of the BOG meeting, Brody said that crows have the capabilities to solve complex problems and understand analogies, and they value their freedom and home. Brody encouraged the BOG to put an end to the research, imploring them to only invest money in non-animal testing methods.

Amid several protesters, PETA advocate Brent Johannes said that he was attending to give a voice to the voiceless. He explained that the crows would be speaking for themselves if they could.

PETA protester Rebekah Shardy expressed her thoughts on Ebel’s research.  

“I am here because as a long-time resident of Colorado and Larimer County, I’m appalled that our taxpayer money is spent to systematically torture wildlife,” Shardy said. “The experiments being done at CSU (have) not resulted in any vaccine, treatment or even clinical trials.”

PETA agrees that Ebel’s work is academic, but they are concerned with his research not helping humans or birds in the findings. Alka Chandna, PETA’s vice president of laboratory investigative cases, said that gathering information for the sake of information is fine, but the moral equation changes when animals’ lives are at stake.

It is a dangerous message to our youth to say the end justifies the means,” Shardy said. “We need to inspire youth to serve humanity and animals in a way where the means (are) also humane.”

Laura Studley can be reached at or on Twitter @laurastudley_.