Experimenter Plots to Torment, Kill Birds—Help PETA Stop This

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Update (June 28, 2024): VICTORY! In a huge win for animals and government transparency, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in PETA’s favor and ordered that Louisiana State University (LSU) can’t keep public records about Christine Lattin’s deadly experiments on sparrows hidden. Read more here.

Update: November 23, 2021
Louisiana State University has refused to provide many of the records that PETA requested (see details below), so we’ll be seeing the school in court.

Update: December 14, 2020
Did Louisiana State University (LSU) think that ignoring PETA would make us go away? If so, today the school found out just how wrong it was.

That’s because we just filed a lawsuit to force LSU to disclose public records related to experimenter Christine Lattin’s taxpayer-funded experiments on sparrows, as required by the Louisiana Public Records Act.

PETA submitted seven requests for public records to LSU from May 30, 2019, to June 9, 2020, including four requests for veterinary care records as well as records documenting the deaths of the birds in Lattin’s laboratory. To date, the school hasn’t provided any records in response to these requests.

(This isn’t the first time that LSU has tried to cover up the truth. USA Today recently sued the university after it refused to release reports on sexual misconduct allegations against one of its football players.)

And as if Lattin’s experiments on birds weren’t repugnant enough, it turns out that they were likely illegal.

Documents obtained by PETA show that in 2019, Lattin kidnapped and killed dozens of wild birds—in apparent violation of Baton Rouge law. The law clearly states that it’s “unlawful to trap, hunt, shoot or molest” birds and designates the city as a bird sanctuary.

PETA has also verified that Lattin and her employer, Louisiana State University (LSU), were well aware of this prohibition. In fact, a city official says he told Lattin to her face that she couldn’t trap birds there.

PETA has called on the East Baton Rouge parish attorney to investigate this apparent brazen disregard of the law on the part of both Lattin and the university.

Shamefully, Baton Rouge’s bird protection ordinance was gutted earlier this year when the city council added a loophole—mostly likely at the request of the university—that permits capturing, tormenting, and killing birds for experiments. You read that right: It appears that the city council changed a decades-old law so that one experimenter at LSU could capture and torment birds.

This is what Lattin calls “science”: House sparrows breeding in nest boxes at the LSU College of Agriculture will be captured, banded, and fitted with digital ID transmitters. Then, she’ll release them and expose one group of them to frightening predator sounds played on loudspeakers around their nests. These sounds cause long-term stress to the birds, who are attempting to raise and care for their young. At the end of the breeding season, she’ll capture and kill all the birds and their chicks and remove their brains for analysis.

Take action below to urge LSU to end her reign of terror!

Exposed! PETA has obtained new records revealing that serial bird killer Christine Lattin, now at Louisiana State University (LSU), has embarked on another installment of her continuing effort to rid the world of joy with a new round of pointless experiments that involve killing and dismembering birds.

Lattin has tormented and killed birds in bizarre experiments since 2008. The mountain of bird carcasses left after past experiments has led to such banal "discoveries" as "birds do not like captivity" and "birds think crude oil tastes icky."

That her sadistic experiments have not contributed to the promotion of science, however, is apparently no matter to the Louisiana Board of Regents, which awarded her more than $117,000 to torment and kill 184 wild-caught sparrows over a three-year span that began in June 2019.

In Lattin's latest experiments, she will capture, band, and fit with digital ID transmitters house sparrows unfortunate enough to choose to breed in nest boxes at the LSU College of Agriculture. After she releases them, one group will be tormented with the sounds of a predator, such as a hawk, while the other will hear more pleasant sounds, such as nonpredator birds or frogs.

At the end of breeding season, Lattin will capture all the birds and their babies. None will be spared, as she will kill them all. She'll cut their heads off and examine their brain tissue. She'll look for changes in a particular gene brought on by the predator sounds and compare it to the control group.

In another experiment, Lattin will catch dozens of sparrows and pump 20 males and 20 females with sex steroids for a week before running the same predator/nonpredator routine on them. These birds will endure the same fate as the others.

This is what passes for science, and it's unfortunately in line with Lattin's previous cruelty, which included feeding birds crude oil, wounding their legs, plucking large amounts of their feathers, and causing them stress and fear by confining them to cloth bags and giving them drugs that damage their adrenal glands.

House sparrows are one of the most widespread and abundant songbirds in the world today. They're also monogamous, usually only breeding with one partner for a season, and both sexes participate in incubating and feeding their young. In fact, the city of Baton Rouge, where LSU is based, is designated as a bird sanctuary where trapping and molesting birds are prohibited. Lattin's experiments appear to violate the will of the residents of Baton Rouge that birds be protected from harm.

Lattin must not continue her reign of terror on wild birds. Killing these sensitive, trusting beings who have chosen to live in such close proximity to humans is unjust and wrong. Please, take action below and urge LSU to end her cruelty.

Louisiana State University

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