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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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PETA members protest at A&M graduation ceremony

Four+members+of+the+animal+activist+group%2C+PETA%2C+gathered+outside+of+Reed+Arena+on+May+12+to+protest+during+a+graduation+ceremony+for+biomedical+sciences+students.
Photo by Provided

Four members of the animal activist group, PETA, gathered outside of Reed Arena on May 12 to protest during a graduation ceremony for biomedical sciences students.

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, protested the use of golden retrievers at Texas A&M’s Veterinary School.
This protest was in response to the captivity of golden retrievers used for studies on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with a focus on possible treatments for humans with the disease. The PETA protesters gathered outside Reed Arena at 8 a.m. on May 12, as hundreds of biomedical sciences graduates, friends and families were preparing to enter the arena for a graduation ceremony. The protesters held signs with phrases such as “close cruel dog labs” and “20 dogs caged while grads cross stage,” and placed about 20 cages with stuffed animals around the entrance door for the ceremony.
Golden retrievers were originally brought to the university to breed dogs with muscular dystrophy for testing purposes, according to the Dallas Morning News. As of fall 2019, A&M researchers have stopped breeding the dogs with muscular dystrophy, but they still continue their research on the remaining dogs with the disease and its possible treatments.
A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences website states that there have been no legal violations regarding treatment of the dogs, and the research is overseen by departments such as the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health.
“The work performed at Texas A&M’s world-class center is highly regulated and there is rigorous oversight by multiple organizations,” the website reads.
PETA campaigner Marley Delgado was one of four people participating in the protest outside Reed Arena. She said she urges the graduates to do something about the “failure of a lab.”
“Today, thousands of graduates are going to walk across the stage and have the chance to leave Texas A&M forever,” Delgado said. “There are still 20 dogs who are still caged and imprisoned at Texas A&M MD lab, their dog muscular dystrophy lab. We’re urging them, as they go on with the rest of their lives, to please remember the dogs and to fight for them.”
While the breeding of these dogs has stopped, Delgado said the research involving them is still harmful and should be ended.
“They’re doing different experiments on them, whether they are pulling their muscles over and over again to cause them to rip, or they’re doing imaging tests, which can be done on humans,” Delgado said. “There’s no reason for them to have these dogs.”
Biomedical sciences senior Alexandra Lawson, who was standing in line for her graduation, said she doesn’t think the protest was appropriate for the occasion.
“There’s a time and a place, and this isn’t necessarily the time or the place for a protest,” Lawson said.
Reshmi Sen, biomedical sciences senior, likewise said she does not agree with the timing of the protest.
“I think it’s kind of unnecessary,” Sen said. “It’s not a day for that, it’s a day of celebration. I don’t think they should be using this as a platform right now.”
Delgado commented on some of the reactions of the graduates to the protest and said more needs to be done by the students.
“A lot of the responses [are], ‘Why are you here on this day?’” Delgado said. “It’s always the day to speak up for animals, and while it’s a great day for them, there’s no great days for these dogs.”

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