If you take your pet to a veterinarian in Texas — it seems more often than not that vet got his or her degree from Texas A&M. That University in College Station is well known for its animal science, zoology and poultry science programs. Texas Standard even featured a story recently highlighting a sort of nursing home for pets at A&M. So it comes as a surprise to some that the university is now in the middle of an issue that has some wondering if A&M is treating animals cruelly.
Texas A&M admits to doing some animal testing on more than 400 dogs and 15 cats. But they’re not making public those testing records.
Nicole Cobler investigated this issue for the San Antonio Express-News.
On the Nature of the Testing:
“Well that’s the thing, we don’t really know what types of testing they’re doing. The Beagle Freedom Project is this group of animal activists who have been putting in open records requests to universities around the country that do testing on dogs and cats and A&M happened to be the lucky Texas pick. So they submitted open records requests to find out what types of testing, they asked for the daily care logs of specific dogs and cats and A&M denied that with the backing of the Attorney General.”
On the Attorney General’s Opinion:
“[It] basically said that they have a veterinarian-patient privaledge, meaning like when you go to the doctor and they can withhold your records because that’s because your private information.”
On Critics of That Opinion:
“I spoke to Jeremy Beckham who is the head of this campaign that asked for the records and this is the first time that they’ve run into an Attorney General opinion with this — just because usually state entities and things like that don’t fall under this.”
On Testing Programs at Other Texas Universities:
“Texas Tech and UTSA also do some type of research on dogs and cats… any Texas lab has to register with the USDA if they’re doing any kind of research. And I don’t mention the University of Texas [at Austin] because they’re not doing research on dogs and cats but of course they do research on mice, I know they have primates in their care, rabbits — things like that.”
On What Happens Next:
“[The activists] are saying they will possibly be pursuing a lawsuit.”