Battling Cruel Animal Experiments
PCRM is moving forward with a lawsuit filed against the University of California, San Francisco, on behalf of six California doctors alleging that the school unlawfully uses state funds for animal experiments that violate the federal Animal Welfare Act.
PCRM’s lawsuit centers on the university's use of taxpayer dollars to perform duplicative experiments on monkeys in violation of the Animal Welfare Act and to pay fines arising out of those violations. PCRM filed an appeal in early May after the judge ruled that a state court cannot take action on activities that may be subject to the Animal Welfare Act. The lawsuit was originally filed last year.
Many of the experiments mentioned in the lawsuit are invasive experiments involving macaque monkeys. One study involved researchers drilling holes in the monkeys’ skulls, bolting metal restraining devices into their heads, and using attached recording devices to track their eye movements and brain function while the monkeys “worked” to receive such rewards as water.
Under California law, taxpayers are entitled to sue if state resources are funding illegal activities or being used wastefully. The PCRM lawsuit asks the Superior Court of California to cut off the funding for these experiments until the school can come into compliance with the law.
The judge dismissed the lawsuit at the trial court level, reasoning that the Animal Welfare Act is so broad and pervasive that it disallows states from independently taking any action that might affect the same subject matter. But on appeal, PCRM’s legal counsel pointed out that the Animal Welfare Act and the state law upon which the lawsuit is based are complementary, and that the Animal Welfare Act explicitly welcomes parallel state regulation such as this lawsuit.