Friday, January 20, 2006

Being Cheap: Mississippi State University Overcharges Group Trying to Get Public Records on Animal Testing at the University.

I think this is called stonewalling. Must have something to hide.

Animal rights group sues MSU [Mississippi State University] over records

http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp

?ID=210967&pub=1&div=News

1/20/2006 5:44:17 AM

Daily Journal

BY ROBBIE WARD

Daily Journal Starkville Bureau

STARKVILLE - An animal rights organization has filed a lawsuit accusing Mississippi State University of demanding unreasonable copying fees for documents and denying public information.

The suit filed Tuesday in Oktibbeha County Chancery Court by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claims MSU requested $40,494 in advance fees for 25,317 of the requested documents involving university research on animals. It also says MSU would release only 19 public documents when more than 500 were appropriate to release.

PETA filed a Mississippi Freedom of Information request to review documents involving records relating to experiments on live animals to test the nutritional values of a dog food. The group said MSU tried to exempt documents from the request that should be public. The lawsuit also states PETA later requested fewer documents, 19, to lower fees, but the university charged about $1,000, translating into more than $52 per page.

"The public records act requires them to turn over public documents for a reasonable fee," said Rob McDuff, a Jackson attorney representing PETA. "Clearly this is unreasonable."

MSU spokeswoman Maridith Geuder said the university believes it handled the matter appropriately.

"MSU research protocol ensures the highest quality of safety and care for animal research," Geuder said.

The lawsuit requests that all appropriate documents be released at a reasonable fee.

"In its requests to other universities in various parts of the country where public records acts also allow for reasonable fees, PETA has never been required to pay this amount of money to obtain the type or quantity of documents at issue here," McDuff wrote in the lawsuit.

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