Abysmal planning and failed contingency preparations have resulted in a tragedy of nightmarish proportions at Louisiana State University (LSU). All 8,000 animals imprisoned in LSU's laboratories, including mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys, have died. Thousands of animals were abandoned in their cages and left to perish, terrified as floodwaters rose and electrical systems failed. Many drowned. Others starved without food or water. Some of them were euthanized, according to Dr. Larry Hollier, dean of the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. In news reports of the tragedy, animal experimenters lamented the loss of their "data," saying nothing about the horrors endured by the animals trapped in their cages.
As home to one of the state's "hot labs," LSU handles and stores some of the world's most dangerous pathogens. While university officials insist that all living samples of these germs have been killed, they have refused to identify which pathogens were being studied.
PETA's initial letter asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) take action to help animals trapped in labs was ignored. Now we have fired off a second letter to the secretary of the USDA, Michael Johanns, issuing an urgent plea that the government not permit the rebuilding of any animal facility in high-risk areas.
Get Active - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
Please write polite letters to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture hold LSU accountable for each and every animal who suffered horrible panic as the water rose in his or her cage and who was left behind to die slowly from heat and lack of food and water. Please urge Secretary Johanns to bar LSU from bringing any more animals into its labs.
Also, please write polite letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, asking that he not grant any federal monies to Louisiana State University for the reconstruction of the university's animal laboratories. Read PETA's letter to Secretary Leavitt.
Finally, please ask LSU Health Sciences Center Chancellor John Rock to call for the immediate resignations of Larry Hollier, dean of the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and Joseph Morschbaecher, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the LSU Health Sciences Center—both of whom are directly responsible for the massive animal death toll at LSU. Read PETA's letter to Chancellor Rock.
The Honorable Michael O. Johanns
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building
12th Street and Jefferson Drive S.W., Rm. 200-A
Washington, DC 20250
The Honorable Mike Leavitt
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Executive Office of the President
200 Independence Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20201
Chancellor John Rock
Louisiana State University Health Sciences
c/o the LSU System
3810 W. Lake Shore Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70803