Protesters from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, better known as PETA, are up in arms over possible inhumane experiments of sparrows taking place at Yale University. They allege that experiments by Postdoctoral Associate Christine Lattin have left 250 sparrows dead, since 2008, at both Tufts and Yale University.
Earlier this month, PETA protesters assembled at the New Haven campus in an attempt to coerce the school into withdrawing any further support for research using sparrows.
“AT YALE, THE CAGED BIRD DIES,” read protest signs.
More recently, a protester interrupted Yale University President Peter Salovey’s speech to alumni at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture by running to the front of the room with a sign and screaming, “shame on you, stop killing birds!” along with other statements. Additional protesters lined up outside the venue.
The objective of the experiments in question is to examine the stress responses in sparrows. In an email to the Yale Daily News, Lattin stated that each and every one of her experiments have been approved by the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The Committee is regarded as the official oversight of regulations enforced for animal experiments at the federal, state, and university (Yale) level.
“I care deeply about the well-being of the birds and try to minimize any potential suffering or distress they might experience,” Lattin expressed.
She added that her facilities along with her lab undertake inspection on a continual basis and that all her research abides with the Ornithological Council’s “Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research.”
PETA protester Regina Milano argues that scientists at Yale are driven by barbarism, and even goes as far as to state that Yale’s researchers are not actually scientists.
“A lot of the research that’s being done at Yale is people in white lab jackets — they’re barbarians, in my opinion, masquerading as scientists,” says Milano.
PETA volunteer Rocky Barry says it would be in the best interest of Yale scientists to end their hackneyed ways in search of more advanced procedures, such as computer modeling as he suggests.
“[The experiments] reflect a deliberate, unnecessary infliction of suffering and disregard for salient lives,” Hanh Nguyen, a protester as well as campaign liaison for Peta2, PETA’s youth division stated. “It’s critical to remember that these oversight bodies often weigh in favor of the experimenters. No experiment is illegal.”
PETA protesters have even demonstrated in front of her home. According to Lattin, PETA frequently issues “misinformation” regarding her studies and disperses her home address, name, and even photograph so that individuals will harass her.
PETA has gone to the Massachusetts district attorney demanding cruelty charges be filed against Lattin for her research.
“Animal research plays an essential part in the development of human and veterinary medicine and in wildlife conservation and protection,” Lattin expressed.
Lattin added that the research on stress responses found within sparrows could potentially lead to more cutting-edge treatment as well as medicines that could benefit both humans and animals.
“The reason I use wild birds in my research is that we can’t completely understand stress by only studying animals that were born in a cage, because captive-born animals don’t have the same range of physiological and behavioral responses to stress that wildlife and humans show,” Lattin explained.