Online: PETA alleges inhumane animal treatment in Marquette class

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a complaint against Marquette alleging that animals were both treated and killed inhumanely in a physiology course.

PETA says the killings of turtles, rats and rabbits violated regulations to which the university states it adheres.

A student in the class BIOL 171: Experimental Physiology alerted PETA to the use of animals and provided the organization with lab sheets that verified how the animals were used, according to Justin Goodman, a research associate supervisor in PETA's lab investigation project.

According to PETA, laboratory worksheets from the course said that turtles used in the class were anesthetized and then killed with a hammer blow to the head. PETA states that the student who contacted them observed in one instance a turtle, after being struck with a hammer, tried to walk and coughed up blood.

In a statement, the university said Marquette "complies with all applicable provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and other federal statutes and regulations related to animals."

"In all instances cited in the PETA complaint, the animals were anesthetized," it said.

The statement said that following PETA's complaint, the university reviewed the BIOL 171 course and concluded that proper protocol was followed.

PETA is asking that the university eliminate all uses of animals in the classroom and move to alternatives such as various software programs that simulate experiments with animals.

The complaint was originally sent to Marquette on Nov. 21. The university responded on Dec. 16 with what Goodman referred to as a "cursory response."

Goodman said subsequent requests for Marquette to discontinue its use of animals in the lab were unanswered. However, the university statement said William Wiener, vice provost for research and dean of the graduate school, replied to PETA two different times.

For a complete report, see Thursday's print edition of the Marquette Tribune, and online at