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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cruel and Deadly Experiments Conducted at Hennepin County Medical Center Likely Violated Law

For Immediate Release:
April 14, 2010

Justin Goodman 757-622-7382

Minneapolis -- After learning about inhumane and ineffective Taser experiments that were conducted at Hennepin County Medical Center on methamphetamine-dosed sheep--experiments that were partially funded by Taser International--PETA has fired off a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for an immediate investigation into the experiments, which the group believes may have violated federal animal protection laws. A review of USDA records has revealed that Hennepin County Medical Center appears not to be licensed to conduct animal experiments on sheep and other regulated animals, as is required by law, and that the experiments apparently did not undergo proper ethical and scientific review. As a result, the experiments could be in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

"Sheep don't do drugs and don't resist arrest--and they aren't good stand-ins for humans who do," says Kathy Guillermo, vice president of PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department. "Taser is apparently so dead set on proving that stun guns aren't dangerous, it's willing to subject sheep to deadly and irrelevant experiments that may violate the law to do it."

In the study, 16 sheep were restrained, dosed with methamphetamines and shocked with a Taser device for up to 40 seconds at a time. At the end of the study, the animals were killed. The study's authors include Taser's medical director, Jeffrey Ho, and Donald Dawes, a physician who advises Taser. Both of the men own shares in the company.

PETA, medical experts, and the authors of the new study themselves have noted that the results of animal studies on the cardiac effects of Taser shocks do not translate to humans and have frequently contradicted results from human studies. This is largely due to the fundamental biological differences between species and the fact that there is a vast difference between tasering humans on the street and tasering animals in a laboratory. Superior, human-relevant data on the effects of tasering are collected via post-tasering medical monitoring and tests on human volunteers.

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