Seattle, WA – Five members of a University of Washington committee responsible for reviewing all animal-based research proposals have filed a federal lawsuit against the university seeking to protect themselves, their families and their colleagues from escalating hostility and harassment from activists who oppose animal research.
The five Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) members are asking the courts to block attempts by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to obtain their identities and also the names of more than 70 of their fellow colleagues who either currently serve or have served on the University of Washington IACUC committee.
This request comes in the wake of several troubling incidents highlighted in court filings. These include:
- The recent harassment of a University of Washington faculty member at home by a group of protestors. The gathering was organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the same group that is now requesting the names of additional University of Washington IACUC members as well as alternate and previous committee members.
- Several threatening emails, letters and voice messages to university staff that have, among other things, referred to health researchers who work with animals as “vile [expletive] humans” adding “I’m going to do what is necessary to stop animal research.”
- A series of hostile/menacing comments recently made by members of the public attending UW IACUC meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic via Zoom. During these meetings, University of Washington labs have been likened to “Auschwitz”, and members of the university IACUC have been compared to “Nazis” and deemed “sadistic”. Note: Individual committee member names are not displayed during these meetings for personal safety and security reasons.
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