May 5, 2005
Groups call for UI to open labs
By Iowa City Press-Citizen

Representatives from groups challenging animal experimentation in research called on University of Iowa officials to open access to its laboratories.

Members of the Iowa Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund released an audit from Stop Animal Exploitation Now during a news conference Wednesday outside UI's Spence Laboratories.

The audit used information gleaned from records from the UI Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Some of the group's findings include: dogs kept in dirty cages; animal welfare act violations during a pig surgery; mice and rats having necks broken; and repeated experimentation on five monkeys during a 16-year period.

Last November, members of the Animal Liberation Front, a decentralized worldwide animal rights group, allegedly removed animals, spilled chemicals and damaged computers in Spence Labs and Seashore Hall. Authorities continue to investigate the matter and no arrests have been made.

"Just because the break-in was illegal doesn't mean animal research shouldn't be challenged," said Jim Jacobson, treasurer of the Iowa Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Jacobson said UI officials have repeatedly denied requests to release information on animal experimentation or allow access to its labs.

UI spokesman Steve Parrott said UI maintains its animal research goes beyond government regulations.

"I don't think we can respond to their audit without taking some time to look at it," he said.