In April, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit against Ohio State University’s board of trustees seeking photographs and/or videotapes of OSU’s three-week long Spinal Cord Injury Research Techniques Course.
The course teaches students methods of injuring the spinal cords of laboratory animals so they can be used in animal models of such injuries. According to The Columbus Dispatch, 189 rats and 60 mice are injured as part of the course.
PCRM requested information from OSU about the course, and OSU turned over some written records about the course. But PCRM’s suit argues that it needs access to the photographs and/or videotapes in order to evaluate whether or not animals are being treated properly.
In its lawsuit, PCRM claims,
It is of significant societal importance that all U.S. and Ohio taxpayer-funded medical research performed by a noncommercial scientist at, through, and in conjunction with a public university is subject to public accountability and scrutiny.
By withholding the requested information, OSU is preventing the public from meaningfully and thoroughly understanding the process by which taxpayer-funded animal research, which purports to help humans, is conducted.
In its original communication to PCRM refusing to release any photographs or videotapes, OSU said that such records were OSU’s intellectual property, which is one of the exemptions to OSU’s public records law.
Doctors sue OSU for videos of spinal research on rats. Darrel Rowland, The Columbus Dispatch, April 12, 2005.