Read the original article by Asha Fuller at thebatt.com here.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed a second lawsuit against Texas A&M University in the most recent installment of a long-running campaign protesting the university’s use of dogs in its Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) medical research labs.
This second lawsuit, which accuses A&M of withholding public records, comes just one month after PETA filed its first lawsuit against the university for censoring its Facebook comments.
PETA’s campaign against the lab at A&M officially began in December 2016 with the public release of video footage of dogs inside the university’s labs. Since it began, PETA’s campaign has included protests at university events such as football games and graduations, advertising vehicles driven around campus and social media posts.
Kelly Brown, associate vice president of marketing and communications at A&M, defended the university’s use of a lab which tests on animals, saying it is required by the FDA.
“Testing on animals is required by the Federal Drug Administration before the drug can be tried by people,” Brown said. “A drug born out of research done at Texas A&M is currently in human clinical trials. While DMD occurs in both children and dogs, the disease is not as severe in dogs, which means dogs offer a unique opportunity to learn as much as possible, thereby helping all affected by DMD.”
According to Dr. Alka Chandna, PETA’s vice president of laboratory cases management, PETA first found out about the use of dogs in A&M’s research labs in 2013, after receiving video footage from an unnamed inside source. Chandna said the organization conducted research to find out what was happening in the labs before it began its campaign.
“[At first,] we did not go public because we had to do a certain amount of due diligence, and that included submitting a records request to Texas A&M to request information about the dog laboratory,” Chandna said.
Chandna said the university initially gave PETA thousands of pages of records about the dogs in the labs. After the release of the video, A&M released statements challenging the validity and relevance of the videos, prompting PETA to submit more records requests to the university. Chandna said many of the requests had been sent to the attorney general’s office and others were ignored. The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences could not be reached to comment.
PETA has filed lawsuits against other universities across the country, with the majority of the lawsuits being focused on withholding records.
Chandna said that, despite the protesting campaign, PETA holds no ill will towards the university.
“We have never said that A&M University is bad … We admire what they’re doing and we admire the campus. The campaign, whether it’s at A&M or any other campus, has never been against the university at large. It [is the experiments] at the university we are taking issue with,” Chandna said.