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“PETA protests Yale researcher” (Oct. 11, 2017) fails to address the pain and anguish that Christine Lattin inflicts on birds. As a veterinarian, I am deeply concerned about the unrelieved suffering and trauma that these birds are subjected to for experiments that hold little relevance to practical clinical applications.
Lattin’s history of mistreatment of birds has been well documented in her published studies. She has wounded birds without providing pain relief and subjected them to terrifying stressors, repeated painful injections and traumatic anesthetic episodes. At the conclusion of her experiments, she kills and dissects the sparrows. Differences in physiology between birds and humans limits the utility of these experiments, there are significant variations between bird species and even populations of wild sparrows vary depending on geographic location.
Approval of experiments by institutional committees and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) does not guarantee that the experiments are humane. Organizations such as these enforce only the bare minimum of standards in animal welfare, and they are heavily weighted in favor of the experimenter. Almost any experiment on animals with the flimsiest scientific justification can, and does, get approved.
If Lattin truly loves birds as she claims, she can demonstrate this by ceasing these inhumane experiments and embracing cruelty free options that not only avoid the deliberate infliction of pain and suffering, but provide valid and relevant contributions to the biomedical field.
Ingrid Taylor is a research associate at People for the ethical treatment of animals.