Mizzou Researchers Blind and Kill Puppies, University Demands Tens of Thousands for Related Records
And no, the headline isn't an exaggeration.
As reported in the Riverfront Times, four University of Missouri researchers blinded a half dozen beagles, who "were just nine to twelve months at the time they endured the experiment." The researchers then killed the dogs and harvested the eyes after the study (published this past April) proved inconclusive. While it seems like an open question in the media, why the researchers didn't try to adopt out the dogs seems pretty straightforward: that is, they probably couldn't have kept the dogs' eyes if the dogs were alive. Yes, explaining blind dogs to potential adopters isn’t easy, but it’s doable. Explaining dogs whose eyes have been surgically removed? That’s a public relations lift that the University probably wanted to avoid if it could.
As a dog owner and supporter of a local rescue, I find the entire story gross and grotesque. But the problems don't stop there. A nonprofit that works on behalf of beagles like these wanted to get records related to the University's testing on these dogs and others, but the University wants to make that nearly impossible.
Kolde had previously filed a lawsuit against Mizzou on behalf of the Beagle Freedom Project, seeking records relating to the university's care of beagles. The non-profit sought basic records that Mizzou is required by law to maintain. Yet the university sought to charge it $82,222 — as much as $7 a page. [Emphasis mine]
The University of Missouri is a public institution, so it should be easy for taxpayers to access both the details of courses the University teaches and the research its employees conduct. I appreciate the value that can come from research with live animals, and I am not suggesting that it all stop. But if the University is going to conduct this sort of research, it should be done transparently so that taxpayers can judge whether they think that money, spent in their name is being wisely and ethically invested. In this case, taxpayers have ample cause for concern, and Mizzou once again isn't helping its cause.