Twenty years later, a bill drafted by a late senator acts as a death sentence for owls at the JHU, violating the expiration clause of the U.S. Constitution.
For immediate release:
April 13, 2021
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Raleigh, North Carolina – PETA says it is time to repeal the Federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) amendment, sponsored by the late U.S. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, and has filed a lawsuit to repeal it. In one of his most recent acts as a legislator, Helms, a well-known opponent of civil rights and animal welfare, made sure that laboratory-raised poultry, rats and mice were excluded from the minimum protection given to other species by law.
On February 12, 2002, Helms explained his intention during a speech in the hall, in which he urged his fellow senators to “give a well-deserved rebuke” to the “so-called animal rights crowd” and stated that the animals he singled out were only “food for reptiles “, deserving” extermination “. He explained: “I suspect Mrs. Helms would have said a few words to me if I forgot to call the exterminator after finding evidence that a mouse has settled in our basement.”
PETA’s first-of-its-kind lawsuit was filed on behalf of 30 owls – highly sensitive and intelligent birds that use complex communication systems, are loyal to one partner for life and participate in collaborative social networks that are used in the deadly brain. is experimenting at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and names USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Kevin Shea as defendants. He argues that the taxpayer-funded tests performed at the JHU lab are the result of the Helms Amendment, which prevents the USDA from protecting owls hatched in labs.
Since the barn owls used in JHU are eventually killed after their skulls are cut open, the Helms Amendment acts as their death sentence. As the PETA lawsuit points out, the US Constitution explicitly prohibits congressional death sentences under the Income Bill clause.
“Due to an unconstitutional loophole devised by a man who tried his best to disregard any sentient being with whom he had no relationship, laboratories in the US can electrocute, paralyze, torture, starve, dehydrate, maim, neglect and it is painful to kill tens of millions of birds and many other animals, ”says PETA litigation manager Asher Smith. “It’s time to root out Senator Helms’ sad legacy and his cover. everything animals in accordance with the federal law on the protection of animals. “
Evanna Lynch (award-winning animal welfare activist and actor who starred in Harry Potter franchise) joined PETA as the “next friend” of barn owls, as did Dr. Martin Wasserman (former Maryland Secretary of Health) and Lana Weigenant (animal rights and climate justice activist and senior JHU employee).
Because of the Helms Amendment, experimental students – whose trial and error methods during invasive procedures on owls are considered part of the “learning process” – will work with birds without respecting any of the protections guaranteed by the AWA. … The experimenters insert electrodes into the birds’ heads and hold them so that they cannot move. The owls will then be bombarded with harsh sounds and images. When their brains are damaged to the point of impossibility, or when the experiments are over, they will be killed.
PETA and the plaintiffs are asking to repeal the Helms Amendment and require the federal government to rigorously and humanely treat owls in the JHU lab, as well as tens of millions of other birds, mice and other unfairly released animals used in labs across the country.
PETA – whose motto is in part that “animals are not ours to experiment with” – opposes arrogance, a worldview based on human superiority, and all other forms of discrimination based on arbitrary prejudice. For more information please visit PETA.org…