PETA Files for Rehearing After Justices Rule Based on Iams’ Claim That Data on Animals Used and Killed Are ‘Trade Secrets’
Jackson, Miss.(RUSHPRNEWS)08/30/2008— PETA has filed a request for a rehearing with the Mississippi Supreme Court after the justices ruled that the information PETA was seeking about animal experiments at Mississippi State University (MSU) for cat- and dog-food company Iams is exempt from public disclosure.
The court overturned the December 2006 ruling of the Chancery Court of Oktibbeha County, which ordered MSU to turn over to PETA documents related to dental experiments and possibly other procedures on dogs. MSU, like the University of Mississippi, has conducted such experiments for Iams (a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble) since 1999. PETA filed a lawsuit in January 2006, when MSU demanded more than $40,000 for the requested documents even though state law requires that such records be made public either free of charge or in return for reasonable fees.
The Supreme Court ruled that details of the experiments’ protocols–such as the number of animals used, what surgeries were performed, and if any of the animals were killed–would reveal confidential business information and were, therefore, exempt from disclosure under the Mississippi Public Records Act. PETA asserts that the court failed to acknowledge that state law requires government entities to separate exempt material and release non-exempt material. And even though Iams presented no specific evidence that the requested material contained proprietary information, the court has denied PETA all the requested documents. The chancery court had, in fact, conducted a detailed review of the requested documents and separated out what it considered to be confidential business information. PETA has requested as an alternative to the rehearing that the Supreme Court at least remand the case back to the chancery court for an evidentiary review.
“Iams is apparently desperate to hide what MSU did to dogs behind closed laboratory doors on Iams’ dime,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. “Dogs and cats have died at the hand of Iams contractors, and the public has the right to know if that went on at MSU.”
A copy of PETA’s request for a rehearing is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site IamsCruelty.com.
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Contact: Lori Kettler, Esq. 757-622-7382