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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Media Coverage

New animal group to investigate University of Iowa

By Elaine Fabian - The Daily Iowan
Published: Friday, February 11, 2005

Responding to the Animal Liberation Front's accusations that animals in Spence Laboratories were mistreated, a self-described research watchdog on Thursday announced that it will investigate UI research practices to reveal any alleged abuse.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now - a Cincinnati-based group formed in 1996 - released documents detailing the university's research at a news conference in front of Spence Labs on Thursday.

"Half-truths have been perpetuated by UI in recent media coverage," said Michael Budkie, the executive director of the group in a news release.

He asserted that the school has not been forthcoming in describing its research at Spence Labs.

In November 2004, a group claiming affiliation with the Animal Liberation Front, vandalized the labs, spilling chemicals and removing hundreds of animals used in research.

Budkie contended the UI had ulterior motives in conducting animal research.

"UI animal experiments are not about science but more about attracting federal funding to the UI," he said.

UI President David Skorton rejected that claim, saying that the university doesn't need the money.

"The currency of academia is research, and the product of the university is the dissemination of discovery," he said at his monthly meeting with students. "It isn't consistent that a university of this size would do research for the money."

Although Skorton didn't agree with the accusations of the Cincinnati group, he said he isn't worried about its investigation.

"I welcome the investigation," he said. "I believe there is a very important place for animal and human research, and I am proud of the way the UI has organized animal research."

UI law student Leana Stormont, who serves as the Midwest coordinator for the Cincinati group, questioned the need for some animal research at the university.

The study aims to end animal experiments, which she deemed "wasteful," she said.

"We hope to have an effect on the manner in which animals are used," she said. "My goal is to bring information to light so the public can see what is going on."

E-mail DI reporter Elaine Fabian at: elaine-fabian@uiowa.edu  

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