PETA files welfare complaint against LSU

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a complaint against Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine for allegedly purchasing live dogs from a shelter without a USDA license.

The complaint says that PETA received information from a whistleblower that LSU purchased more than 70 dogs from Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. CAA has since filed a request to receive a license from the USDA, according to a separate complaint PETA filed in March to stop CAA from receiving the license.

"The shelter claimed that they would stop providing animals to LSU, but we had a second source contact us and send us evidence that the shelter applied for a license to provide animals to the lab," said Jeremy Beckham, a research associate with PETA's laboratory investigations department.

PETA filed the first complaint in February, and the USDA confirmed that it is investigating.

However, Ginger Guttner, the communications manager at the LSU veterinary school, said that LSU has not been formally notified of any investigations by the USDA.

"The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine obtains cadavers from animal shelters as well as animals already scheduled to be euthanized by the shelter," Guttner said. "The cadavers are used to train veterinary students whose life work is dedicated to serving and saving animals. Obtaining animals from animal shelters for use in teaching does not violate the federal Animal Welfare Act, and the process used by the LSU veterinary school to obtain such animals is reviewed annually by the institutional animal care and use committee, as required by the federal Animal Welfare Act."

CAA built its location near the LSU campus in 2017 and has a 30-year lease, according to previous reporting by JAVMA News.

A new proposed state bill from Louisiana Rep. Jerome Zeringue would outlaw the euthanizing of animals at shelters for the purpose of transferring those animals to research or laboratory facilities.

Related JAVMA content:

APHIS considers stricter animal welfare licensing (Oct. 15, 2017)

Animal shelter to be built on LSU campus (Sept. 15, 2016)

50 years later, animal welfare act is a work in progress (Oct. 01, 2016)