Update: As of December 1, UF has officially defied a court order to turn over records documenting experiments on primates performed in their labs.
by Nathan Crabbe (Gainesville Sun)
A Gainesville judge has ordered the University of Florida to comply with an animal rights activist’s public records request or explain its reason for withholding the records.
Camille Marino of Wildwood, founder of the animal rights group Negotiation is Over, sued UF last month for failing to produce records on 33 primates involved in research. Marino had initially been asked to pay $566.54 for the records, but the university later provided only one redacted purchasing report and refunded the money.
Eighth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Martha Ann Lott issued the order to UF on Nov. 3 and the university was served last week, starting a 20-day clock for its response. Gainesville attorney Marcy LaHart, who is representing Marino, said UF officials were disingenuous in rejecting the request and provided an invalid explanation to Marino.
“They thought she would just go away,” LaHart said. “They thought they could get away with claiming an exemption that doesn’t really apply. It doesn’t even pass the laugh test.”
Marino requested information on the primates that includes their veterinary records and details about their deaths. UF cited a state law protecting the confidentiality of veterinary patient records in denying the request.
Negotiation is Over has campaigned against animal research at UF, including an effort to identify faculty and student researchers on its website. The effort led UF to warn students at the start of the semester.