‘Harry Potter’ star Evanna Lynch joins lawsuit to protect owls from deadly experiments – Totally Vegan Buzz
Harry Potter' star Evanna Lynch joins lawsuit to protect owls from deadly experiments
Image: GIO_LE / Shutterstock.com

“There is overwhelming evidence that the results of most experiments on animals can’t be applied to humans. There can be no ethical justification for this grotesque cruelty.”

Harry Potter actor Evanna Lynch is challenging a federal law that allows fatal brain experiments on owls.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) experimenter Shreesh Mysore is conducting these experiments in an attempt to gain insight into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The actress has joined PETA, a former Maryland Secretary of Health Martin Wasserman, and a Johns Hopkins senior named Lana Weidgenant in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit to sue as “next friends” to the birds, who are cut up and killed in taxpayer-funded experiments and barred from protection due to a loophole in the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

The lawsuit has been filed against two U.S. Department of Agriculture officers who lead the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

It seeks to have the Helms Amendment- named after former Senator Jesse Helms who in 2002 proposed a loophole to the 1966 Animal Welfare Act that excludes birds, mice, and rats bred for use in research from the AWA – abolished.

According to PETA, Johns Hopkins has been explicit in its acknowledgment that owls are used for these studies because their “midbrain is organized in a way that makes it relatively easy to track the activity of specific neurons.”

This means the use of this species has “little to do with sound science and everything to do with convenience.”

‘No ethical justification’

In a letter addressed to Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniel,  Lynch wrote: “Experimenters cut into barn owls’ skulls, insert electrodes into their brains, restrain them, put headphones on them to force them to listen to sounds, and record their brain activity.

“They’re eventually killed so that their brains can be removed and examined. There can be no ethical justification for this grotesque cruelty.”

She added: “These experiments are done with the intention of understanding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but there is overwhelming evidence that the results of most experiments on animals can’t be applied to humans.

“There are better ways to study this condition.”

According to PETA, a successful lawsuit “will lead to greater protection for tens of millions of mice, birds, and other unfairly exempted animals used in laboratories across the country.”

 Response

In response to the federal complaint, a Johns Hopkins spokesperson said that the research has already yielded new and critical insights about ADHD. 

“Virtually every significant step toward alleviating human suffering, and better-treating animal health needs, has been the result of insights learned from laboratory animals,” spokeswoman Karen Lancaster said in an email to Courthouse News Service.

“Such research is essential so that doctors can develop better interventions and treatments to help people in need.”

You can learn more about PETA’s campaign to stop torturing owls here.

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