The University of Utah has denied an open records request seeking the names of researchers who experiment on animals, citing safety concerns for the faculty members.
The student group Utah Primate Freedom filed the request, and will appeal the denial to the state Records Committee.
Students want the information to "hold researchers legally and publicly responsible" for any animal abuses, said Katie Patterson, a sophomore studying English who filed the request.
"If we hear of abuse or neglect of an animal, we'd probably try to get that person fired, depending on how bad the abuse is," she said.
Fellow Utah Primate Freedom member Jeremy Beckham said the U.'s claims of security concerns have no merit under Utah's open records law, and he is confident he ultimately will prevail.
University administrators disagree. Security concerns are legitimate given recent vandalism that occurred at the home of U. researcher Audie Gene Leventhal, U. spokeswoman Coralie Alder said. The Animal Liberation Front acknowledged on its Web site that members threw glass-eating acid on the windows and painted the words "Cat Killer" on his driveway, in reference to his experiments involving felines at the U.
Utah Primate Freedom also has held protests outside the homes of researchers.
"They say they don't care about where the researchers live, but then why are they going to the researchers homes?" Alder asks.
While Patterson said the intention of the protests was not to "scare or intimidate" the researchers but rather voice their concerns over having closed labs, Beckham sees the need for a militant, radical faction in the animal rights activist movement.
"It's unfortunate, but activities such as vandalism are the result of labs being so secretive," he said. "When some activists see someone like me try to work within the system and fail repeatedly, it's hard to argue with that militant rationale."
However, if he does receive the researchers' names from the U., he will post them online. Alder worries that more radical groups could use that information to inflict harm.
She added that U. researchers treat their animals ethically.
They take their rhesus and macaque monkeys to sanctuaries after experiments and adopt out cats and dogs.
But Beckham wants to end such experiments and attempt to ensure researchers are held to higher standards by getting their names for activists such as himself.
"When there is a violation, there is no corrective behavior, the lab just pays a fine," he said.
"Right now we're going on a fishing expedition. Once we've looked at the documents, we'll figure out our course of action."
now i know nothing about dogfighting. but i do know about fair, and i think its fair to have someone with a different opinion on this panel koki was part of. i dont know about you, but im tired of just one faction having all the say. fair, balanced and unbiased. all people, even convicted dogfighters deserve a fair shake. as long as garner was living up to the terms of his probation, his criminal history is of no importance. this is about tethering vs kenneling, not dogfighting. i think the two subjects have been intertwined on purpose, and i dont think thats right. attaching a deplorable activity such as dogfighting to an issue that affects dog owners of many types of dogs is a transparent way to garner support for a moot issue. breeders of sleddogs, hunting dogs, GSD's ets, all tether dogs in the same manner as "dogfighters". these people are all law abiding people, and yet they will now be targets because of this legislation. lets call this what it is. this is an attempt to snuff out dogfighting when our state has no real evidence. it is a new standard of probable cause, nothing more. if our state truly cared about these dogs, they would look back to highschool math. a 15 ft tie out space provides almost 1000sqft for the dog, whereas a state approved kennel provides about 50sqft. now you tell me, if it was you, and you were paying for an apartment, what would you rather have? 1000sqft for a cost of about $50, or 50sqft at a cost of almost $1000?
i cant say whether or not tehering a dog is cruel. i suppose any method of containing a dog could be construed as inhumane if executed poorly. in the case of chains vs kennels, i would have to look towards mathmatics for a better answer. the ultimate goal is to provide for the animals. at a visit to a local animal shelter, i took measurements of their kennels. they measured 4 x 8, for a total square footage of 32. now when compared to a tie out space with a radius of 15 feet, you can see the usable square footage jump up to almost 1000sq ft. of course in considering this method, one must take into account the proper chain/teher weight in comparison to the size of a dog, however, when looked at from a non biased point of view, it looks to me that a properly executed tie out space provides more room for a dog to move around, and after all, thats what were in this for is it not?
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