Newly placed advertisements on Madison Metro buses by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals depicting a cat being tested in a University of Wisconsin laboratory have further fueled the ethical debate over animal testing on campus.
PETA spokesperson Jeremy Beckham said PETA convinced the Madison Metro to run the advertisement in an effort to incite people to take action and “end the cruelty.”
The goal of the advertisement campaign was to shed light on the cruelty taking place in the laboratories and give the public an idea of what acts are being conducted, Beckham said.
“If we are not even comfortable looking for a few seconds with our eyes at that image, then imagine what these cats are forced to endure for months with their bodies,” Beckham said.
PETA has received hundreds of emails from people about the picture asking what they can do to help, Beckham said.
Beckham said the organization filed a lawsuit under Wisconsin’s open records laws to finally obtain the photo after three years.
Eric Sandgren, the director of UW’s Animal Resource Center, said the picture on the Metro buses is from a pilot study that involved placing cochlear implants into the cat and determining how well that allowed the cat to hear.
Sandgren said the study involved an expert on cochlear procedures and an investigator who ensured the process was done correctly.
Sandgren said PETA’s claims that the study involved unjustifiable animal cruelty and that the laboratory was unsuccessful in publishing their findings are “false, and PETA knows they’re false.”
“There are investigative reports published online by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare which state that all cats were found to be in good clinical condition, and none showed signs of lesions, pain, distress or adverse responses,” Sandgren said.
Sandgren said the links on the page provide videos of UW studies and additional reports, which clarify the hearing research they do in the laboratories and why they do it.
Sandgren said PETA has been accusing UW of violating laws for more than a year, but none of their claims have any evidence and have never been validated.
“PETA found a picture they can use in a fundraiser campaign and they’re just going for it,” Sandgren said. “They really don’t seem to care that everything they’re putting out about this is misleading.”