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$120 a Page Is Too Steep, PETA Says

(CN) - Animal rights activists say the University of Maryland is hiding records on animal research at its medical school and using the state's "serious economic difficulties" as a dodge to charge more than $120 a page to copy nine pages. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demands the records in Baltimore City Court.

PETA says the UM began its stonewalling in October 2008, when it denied PETA access to all but nine of 140 pages of requested documents.

"Defendants requested that PETA pay $1,102.25 in order to receive parts of nine pages of documents," according to the complaint.

The UM cited an exemption to the Maryland Public Information Act that allows a custodian to "deny inspection of a public record that contains specific details of a research project that an institution of the state is conducting."

The UM also denied PETA's request for a waiver of copying fees, citing a provision that allows it "to recover its costs for records and reproduction of documents or other materials to the fullest extent permitted by law."

PETA says its request for reconsideration met with the same response.

Also named as a defendant is Dr. Albert Reece, acting president of the university and vice president of medical affairs at the school of medicine. He is sued in his official capacity.

PETA wants to see the documents for a reasonable fee. It is represented by Mindy Kursban of Bethesda.

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