MADISON, Wis. (CN) – The University of Wisconsin’s Research Animal Resources Center refuses to release uncensored records about its publicly funded eye-movement experiments on live cats and monkeys, PETA claims in Dane County Court.
The animal-rights group says it requested the records nearly 15 months ago, but has yet to see all the information it wants, including information on the protocols that the university’s federally mandated Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee uses to make sure the research complies with the Animal Welfare Act.
Records custodian Richard Lane allegedly refuses to produce any photos or videos, non-compliance complaints or investigative reports from the committee, claiming they’re exempt from the Wisconsin Open Records law.
The university did release records on five occasions, but PETA says the documents were “substantially redacted” but not adequately marked as such, making it impossible for PETA to “assess the validity of the redaction.”
PETA also claims UW redacted more than it said it would, including researchers’ names, personnel training and experience and the names of vendors and suppliers. The university purportedly withheld the information to prevent harassment against individuals and to protect trade secrets for future patenting.
But PETA claims “there is no basis for UW to withhold any of the requested information.”
“UW has squandered millions of taxpayer dollars to conduct these cruel and wasteful experiments, and now it apparently wants to throw away more money trying to hide what went on,” PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo said in a statement. “People have a right to know how their tax dollars are spent, especially if someone could be using the money to break the law.”
PETA says it wants to ensure that the animals used in the experiments are not being subjected to excessive distress and pain, that non-animal alternatives are being considered, and that the “experiments are not unnecessarily duplicative.”
Lead attorney is Steven Penn of Penn Rakauski in Racine, Wis.
Defendants are the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin and records custodian Lane.