PETA protests crow experiments on second day of freshman move-in

Laura Studley

During the second day of freshman move-in, 12 protesters for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organized a demonstration in front of Moby Arena to inform incoming students and parents of experiments being done on crows and other wild-caught birds. 

“These birds, especially the crows, are incredibly intelligent, emotional species,” said Marley Delgado, assistant campaigner for PETA. “When we rip them out of their homes, they miss their families, they miss their natural environments and they suffer horribly in these labs. We are just really calling on the students to join us in asking the school to end these experiments.” 


In April, Colorado State University professor Gregory Ebel was under investigation for his experiments that researched the effects of West Nile virus on wild crows. Later that month, Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued him a citation for the illegal possession of wildlife. 

In a University issued statement, CSU said that Ebel’s research is essential to understanding how West Nile survives and spreads among animal and human populations, as well as exploring what happens when viruses like West Nile enter new environments.   

“Understanding these interactions will help provide important information about how to save human and animal lives from West Nile and other viruses, which have devastated many avian populations,” the statement said.

PETA hopes to involve the National Institutes of Health to reduce the amount of taxpayer money that goes toward the funding of “curiosity-driven” research such as Ebel’s, said protester Allan Burns. 

According to the University statement, all of Ebel’s state and federal permits are up to date for 2019 and have been since Jan. 9. Ebel is still sponsored by the NIH and supported by the University to be conducting research on different bird species using the West Nile virus. 

“We have to speak for those that can’t,” said protester Rebekah Shardy. “For the last 13 years, hundreds of wild birds, crows, robins, other birds, have had their voices taken away, have been cruelly tormented, without any results, without any clinical trials. In addition to it being heartbreaking, it is also a desensitization of our young people to be engaged in this in a place of learning.” 

Protests regarding Ebel’s work have been recurrent. On May 7, protesters stood outside the Translational Medicine Institute before the Board of Governors’ meeting to speak to the CSU president about the experiments. 

“Until the day that they pull the plug on these experiments, they can expect that PETA and our supporters will continue to show up no matter where that is,” said Delgado. “We are not going to rest until these birds are free.”

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