Today, PETA filed a complaint asking the University of Minnesota to investigate Dr. Carol Cardona—the Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health for the College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul—for false and profoundly irresponsible statements that she made to Bio Corporation, an Alexandria-based classroom dissection–specimen supplier.

A PETA video exposé showed Bio Corporation workers drowning fully conscious pigeons and injecting live crayfish with chemicals, prompting a police investigation and charges for 25 counts of cruelty to animals. But Cardona—in statements contradicted by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines and veterinary research—defended the practice of drowning birds, prompting the Alexandria City Attorney’s Office to dismiss all 25 charges. PETA is asking the university to retract these statements and determine whether she violated its Board of Regents’ Code of Conduct.

“On University of Minnesota letterhead, Dr. Cardona wrote in support of drowning pigeons, which causes them a slow, terrifying, and painful death,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on the university to clarify that neither it nor its faculty advocate the use of illegal and cruel means of killing animals.”

Although Bio Corporation is required by federal law to adhere to the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, which prohibit drowning as “inhumane,”Cardona declared that the company’s practices “should be considered pest control.” Although research shows that it can take 5 to 10 minutes for drowning birds to die from cardiac arrest, she claimed that “death by drowning would be nearly instantaneous. In light of this, I don’t think that this form of inducing death should be classified as animal cruelty.”

PETA has also filed complaints against Cardona with the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine and the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.


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