Animal Advocates take University of California to Court for Withholding Animal Testing RecordsPosted on December 19, 2013
Refusal to Disclose Public Records at the Heart of Lawsuit
For immediate release:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
LOS ANGELES — Yesterday, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against the Regents of the University of California for failing to produce public records—including veterinary care logs, necropsy reports, and photographs—regarding primate testing at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The lawsuit was filed with the California Superior Court of Los Angeles County on behalf of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), a nonprofit dedicated to stopping the abuse of animals in laboratory facilities. Although SAEN has requested public records from UCLA going back to January 1, 2012, UCLA has summarily denied SAEN’s request. According to the lawsuit, that refusal to disclose information violates California state law.
UCLA testing facilities conduct substantial animal-based research, including research on nonhuman primates, in the areas of medicine, neuroscience, and addiction. In the past, primates held in UCLA testing facilities have been forcefully injected with drugs to study the resulting chemical addiction. The animals often died before the experiments were completed, or were killed afterwards. Approximately a quarter of the grant money UCLA receives, amounting to a minimum of $200 million annually, is used for studies involving animals.
“UCLA is a public institution using public money, therefore the people of California have a right to know what happens inside their labs,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., executive director of SAEN. “This is especially important because UCLA has a history of violating the Animal Welfare Act as well as attempting to prevent federal regulators from inspecting their facilities.”
“Californians count on our public universities to disclose records without resorting to a culture of secrecy, possibly hiding illegal animal cruelty,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “It is crucial for the safety of primates, our closest living relatives, and for Californians, that UCLA maintain a reasonable transparency about its research facilities.”
Copies of the lawsuit and petition are available by request.