PETA wanted details regarding the latest round of deadly, pointless experiments on birds carried out by Christine Lattin, Louisiana State University’s (LSU) resident bird tormentor, but the university refused to hand over the records. So PETA sued LSU—and won.
Now, LSU must finally cough up all the documents that it was legally required to provide on Lattin’s grisly and publicly funded experiments. After reading the records that LSU tried so hard to hide, we know why school officials circled the wagons to protect her.
Lattin, LSU’s menace to birds, trapped and killed 123 birds in a 13-month period ending in June 2020. That’s an average of about two birds a week, every week, for more than a year. She trapped 31 of those birds in East Baton Rouge Parish before March 2020—when she and her attorney leaned on the city of Baton Rouge for an exception to its bird protection ordinance.
It appears that some of the birds she trapped were so stressed by their abduction and sudden imprisonment—a condition described as “failure to thrive”—that they simply died or were killed within a week.
Lattin, whose past experiments have included feeding crude oil to birds and somehow calling that “science,” has again plumbed the depths of absurdity—and cruelty—in this latest round of experiments. Purportedly to test sparrows’ fear of unfamiliar objects (known as “neophobia”), she withheld food from them for 15 hours and then put random objects—such as blinking lights, yellow pipe cleaners, a purple plastic egg, a tinfoil hood, gold bells, pink puffs, and an unopened blue cocktail umbrella—near their food dishes, to see how readily the birds would approach.
That’s it—that’s the whole experiment. Plop a cocktail umbrella in front of hungry, abducted birds, watch, videotape, and then kill them and dice up their brains to analyze for differences in gene expression.
Lattin also devised spin-off experiments based on this deadly clown show. She caged birds in pairs to see how a partner’s behavior would influence the other. She’s examined the microbes in the birds’ stomachs to look for differences in birds who reacted differently. And she’s injected birds with hormones to see how that affects their reactions to whatever was in her pocket that day.
If this seems cruel and meaningless to you, you’re right. It is.
Studies of one bird species don’t guarantee insights into other species’ reactions to the same environment or stimuli. If there’s a genetic basis for neophobia in the sparrows Lattin traps, imprisons, and torments—that is, if there are differences between the genes of sparrows who demonstrate fear of new objects and those of ones who readily approach new objects—that wouldn’t necessarily have any relevance for free-living sparrows, other species of birds, or humans. Lattin is just churning out data so that she can publish papers, secure funding, and call herself a scientist. Animal experimentation is an industry that specializes in cruelty. That’s all.
In one of her previous experiments, Lattin subjected two groups of wild sparrows to captivity for two weeks, then killed and dissected them. She injected one group with a drug that suppressed their adrenal function, and the other group was a control. The only difference observed in the birds who received the adrenal drug was that they wiped their beaks slightly less often—a result that has no practical relevance to clinical treatments or alleviation of stress from captivity in wild animals. It only produced more dead birds.
Christine Lattin must not continue to insult science and kill more birds in depraved experiments that inflict suffering and are devoid of meaning.
Please urge LSU to end her cruelty: