University of Minnesota Veterinarian Backtracks on Drowning Birds—Act Now!

UN LAB Middleware Label: Title Ends

In September 2017, a PETA eyewitness who worked at Bio Corporation—a dissection-specimen producer and dealer in Alexandria, Minnesota—captured video footage documenting that workers there drowned crated, fully conscious pigeons in water; froze turtles in an attempt to kill them; and injected conscious crayfish with chemicals in order to kill them.

pigeons in cage

A judge found probable cause to believe that Bio Corporation violated the state's anti-cruelty statutes and ordered the Alexandria Police Department to investigate. In December 2017, the Alexandria City Attorney's Office filed 25 criminal charges of cruelty to animals against Bio Corporation, including five counts related to the pigeons who'd been drowned.

Then, Dr. Carol Cardona, a professor at the University of Minnesota, issued a false and unscientific statement in support of drowning pigeons.

When asked about her statement in May 2018, she claimed that she told Bio Corporation to "stop drowning the pigeons."

Please help us ensure that the university steps up and retracts its professor's opinion, which is not based in fact or science and may serve to ensure that birds continue to suffer and endure slow, agonizing deaths by drowning at Bio Corporation.

In April 2018, Cardona sent a note to Bio Corporation—on University of Minnesota letterhead, which identified her by her position there. She wrote that the handling of live animals at Bio Corporation "should be considered pest control."

Wrong. Bio Corporation is a U.S. Department of Agriculture–licensed animal dealer that sells animals, including pigeons whom a co-owner told police he obtains alive, and their parts. As such, it's required by federal law to kill animals by means consistent with the current American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals.

That evidently doesn't matter to Cardona, though.

While the AVMA (and common sense) tells us, "Drowning is not a means of euthanasia" for any species "and is inhumane," Cardona declared—out of left field—that "death by drowning would be nearly instantaneous. In light of this, I don't think that this form of inducing death should be classified as animal cruelty."

As our friends at peta2 would say, "WTF?!"

Cardona's claims are equally at odds with published veterinary forensic and critical-care research—including that presented at her employer's campus. Immersed birds panic, hyperventilate, and struggle to stay above water. Research shows that it takes at least two to three minutes for drowned birds to lose consciousness and that death from cardiac arrest usually doesn't occur for five to 10 minutes.

Nearly instantaneous? Hardly.

Shouldn't be classified as cruelty to animals? Wrong again.

Veterinarians are sworn to use their knowledge and skills to protect animals' welfare. But Cardona's false statements are sure to exacerbate animal suffering—rather than preventing and relieving it, as her oath requires her to do.

You Can Help Stop This

PETA has asked the University of Minnesota's Office of Institutional Compliance to investigate Cardona and issue a written retraction of her statements. Please urge that office to take swift and appropriate action.

University of Minnesota

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