USA Today reports a Wisconsin state appellate court sided with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in a lawsuit they brought against the University of Wisconsin for with holding records related to animal tests at UW-Madison’s medical laboratory. The reason for the decision was UW saw the documents as not meeting the public records definition stating they were notes for personal use.
While the court agreed the documents in question were notes, it concluded they were not for personal use and fell under the definition of public records. The ALDF demanded the records from UW’s Animal Care and Use Committee stating that the planned research involved taking newborn macaque monkeys from their mothers would react and what their behavior would be if newborns were placed among each other. ALDF alleged that macaque infants placed in those situations would lead to psychological trauma and that the monkeys would be ultimately be killed. UW-Madison later cancelled the tests citing other research.
Animal rights groups typically use lab public records to harass and intimidate (either by terrorism or litigation) employees of labs involved in medical testing that uses animals. However, in this case, ALDF’s intent was probably to stop the research by using the records as a means to file complaints with the USDA that oversees animal research.
The ultimate goal was, most likely, to hinder the lab into conducting its research with USDA inspections as a means of slowing them down. It is unclear what scientific field would have benefited from such tests, however, the fact that ALDF took so much time and expense to obtain the UW records, it is not a good sign.