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PETA accuses JHU of cruelly treating owls for research, university strongly denies

JHU Barn owl
Posted at 2:56 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 14:59:26-04

BALTIMORE — A Johns Hopkins University associate professor has been cruelly treating barn owls in order to conduct research on attention deficit disorder , so says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

PETA claims they have documents suggesting that Shreesh Mysore cuts into the owls skulls, screwing and gluing metal like electrodes into their brains.

The group says Mysore then restrains the birds in small tubes, forcing them to be exposed to light and noises for hours, to measure their brain activity.

Barn owls are nocturnal and PETA says this type of treatment amounts to severe pain resulting in their brains to become mutilated to the point where Mysore has to euthanize them.

Mysore plans to experiment on up to 60 owls, according to PETA.

They say the National Institute of Health are the ones behind funding the multi-million dollar initiative, and are calling for it to end.

In his grant applications, PETA claims Mysore admits his experiments are painful for the owls, but offers little information on any medication he uses to mitigate it.

"Bombarding these animals with artificial stimulation while their brain activity is measured in a distressing and completely unnatural situation does nothing to further our understanding of human attention-deficit disorder," said PETA.

In response, Johns Hopkins University called the allegations "grossly incorrect," claiming the animals used for research are given round-the-clock veterinary care, in compliance with NIH and other organizational standards.

The university also defended its laboratory research on animals, saying it's "essential to medical discovery."

Read the university's entire statement below.

It is disappointing that some would seek to deliberately mischaracterize the treatment of animals involved in research at Johns Hopkins through cherry-picked, inflammatory, and grossly incorrect allegations. The care of our research animals is incredibly important to us, and a responsibility that we take very seriously. Full-time specialist veterinarians provide round-the-clock care to ensure the well being of our animals and that they are properly housed in environments that meet and exceed rigorous standards.

Each study is carefully and repeatedly reviewed to ensure adherence to requirements of both NIH and the organization that accredits our animal research program, AAALAC International. We fulfill all state and federal animal welfare requirements and guidelines, including the Animal Welfare Act Regulations administered by the USDA, the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and other applicable government and institutional guidelines and policies.

The role of laboratory animals in research is essential to medical discovery. Virtually every significant step toward alleviating human suffering, and better treating animal health needs, has been the result of insights learned from laboratory animals. We strongly stand behind Dr. Mysore’s research, which has already yielded the potential to provide new and critical insights into deficits found in a number of medical conditions that afflict tens of millions of humans, including ADHD, autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s. This research is essential so that doctors can develop better interventions and treatments to help people in need.