Two sparrows sitting on a branch of a bush.

Two sparrows sitting on a branch of a bush.

LSU employee Christine Lattin's experiments just cost the university roughly $73,500 in attorney fees and court costs, paid directly to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Lattin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at LSU who has been criticized for her experiments dating all the way back to 2008. Lattin’s experiments usually entail studying the behavior, brain activity and hormones of birds.

“In my lab, we study how wild birds respond to stress and how we can help protect these species,” Lattin said in a recent statement. “Understanding the physiology of stress is really essential. It’s a matter of life or death for wild animals.”

PETA claims that previous experiments conducted by Lattin have involved questionable practices such as injecting sparrows with a surplus of sex hormones, not feeding them for up to 15 hours at a time, exposing them to calls from predators and ultimately killing the birds to examine their brains.

PETA filed a lawsuit in December 2020 after LSU refused to release public documents. The public documents requested by PETA included veterinary-care records and videos of animal experiments conducted by Lattin.

After PETA filed the lawsuit, LSU responded by providing only some of the documents requested. In January 2022, the 19th Judicial District Court for East Baton Rouge Parish ordered the university to release all of the documents.

“This court recognizes the importance of the Louisiana public records law, which LSU has attempted to evade,” PETA Foundation General Counsel Lori Kettler said. “The public has the right to know how its funds are spent by public institutions and PETA has made sure LSU can’t hide its atrocities.”

Although PETA may call her work “atrocities”, Lattin considers PETA’s purpose to be somewhat counterintuitive.

“It is important to understand that PETA is opposed to all research that uses animals, including life-saving research that has led to cancer breakthroughs, countless medications and therapies, and most recently, the Covid-19 vaccine,” Lattin said.

Lattin has also experienced various levels of harassment from PETA and the organization’s followers. She claims that the organization and its followers have flooded her e-mail inbox, defamed her on social media, held protests outside of her home and even sent slanderous letters to her neighbors.

According to Lattin, her research is necessary because it helps predict which animals could be the next endangered species. The experimenter claims that using wild animals for experiments is necessary to determine how different species react to human activity, which impacts species in the wild every day.