Animal Rights Activists Want Ohio University to Open Animal Care Review Committee Meetings

Ohio-based animal rights activists want Ohio University to open up its Institutional Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee meetings, but the university has so far refused on the grounds that it is not required by law to do so and it does not want to set a precedent of opening meetings that it is not legally required to open.

Two groups, Ohio-based Protecting Our Earth’s Treasures and OU student group Athens Animal Rights Coalition, want the university to open the meetings.

Protecting the Earth’s Treasures’ Rob Russell told The Athens News that the meetings should be open because,

This is a federally mandated committee, at an Ohio public university.

Athens Animal Rights Coalition president Noelle Elbert told The Athens News,

They should be public. Other universities in Ohio have to go by the rules, and we don’t understand why OU doesn’t.

. . .

We’re concerned about the animals. Because what are they hiding, if they don’t want you to sit in on the meetings? . . . I pay to go to this school, so don’t I have a right to know what’s going on?

But Ohio University director of legal affairs, John Burns, noted that Elbert has been given copies of the minutes from all of the animal care committee meetings, as well as a tour of Ohio University’s animal facilities. “There has been a lot of information provided to her,” Burns told The Athens News.


Animal rights activists wonder what OU committee is hiding. Jim Phillips, The Athens News, November 24, 2004.

Ohio State University Set to Expand Animal Research Facilities

Ohio State University, which came under fire recently over HIV research involving felines, recently announced that it plans a major expansion of its animal testing facilities.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that OSU will undertake a $30 million expansion of its animal testing facilities at Weiseman Hall that will add 35,000 square feet of lab space. The money will be raised through a combination of money from the Ohio legislature and bonds issued by OSU.

OSU’s William Yonushonis told the Dispatch,

It will be a rodent facility, primarily for mice. We’re looking at housing up to 35,000 cages. You can put up to five mice a cage.

This would add to the approximately 75,000 animals that the Dispatch reports are already used annually for research at OSU. Ninety-two percent of such animals are mice and rats.

Ohio-based animal rights group Protect Our Earth’s Treasures criticized the expansion. POET director Rob Russell told the Columbus Dispatch,

There’s a whole bunch of projects that we feel could be stopped today, and we feel it wouldn’t have any negative impact on humans.

OSU is also planning to build a new biosafety level 3 laboratory to study infectious diseases which will house laboratory animals.


New labs for mice planned at OSU. Alice Thomas, The Columbus Dispatch, July 5, 2003.

Background On Proposed BSL3 Laboratory Planned for Ohio State University’s West Campus. Press Release, Ohio State University, July 26, 2003.

OSU's HIV Feline Research Will Continue

In June, Ohio State University researcher Michael Podell left his position after a sustained campaign directed against him by animal rights activists. Activists claimed that his research, which involved looking at FIV infection in cats who were administered methamphetamines, was cruel and unnecessary. The research, in fact, produced important findings about the progression of HIV-like illnesses as well as HIV-related dementia.

OSU didn’t effectively defend Podell from animal rights activists while he was at the university, but have decided that they will continue the research that Podell started. Podell conducted his research as part of a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

OSU President Karen Holbrook said that, “Projects such as this one facilitate the design of treatments for humans and animals alike against many deadly viral diseases.”

Protect Our Earth’s Treasures, an animal rights group that regularly protested against Podell, announced that it will renew its protests beginning Nov. 1 until the university abandons such research.

POET director Rob Russell told The Columbus Dispatch, “It’s still the same wasteful project it was before.”


HIV Study That Uses Cats Will Continue At OSU. David Lore, The Columbus Dispatch, October 30, 2002.