The main point to note here is that The Iams Company is being very secretive about the fate of dogs in the research program it supports at MSU. Also, MSU is a state-supported school. Why is there even a question about releasing basic research protocol information? No one seems to be asking for formulas or anything else of monetary value.
Thanks to the Clarion Ledger for this article.
Miss. court to decide if pet food maker must give records to PETA
The Associated Press January 7, 2008
Pet food manufacturer The Iams Company contends Mississippi State University research documents it has been ordered to give People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are trade secrets and not public record.
Iams and the university have appealed Chancery Judge Dorothy Colom’s adverse decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The case is among dozens the Supreme Court will hear during the January-February term. The court will not hear oral arguments in the cases. The justices will instead rely on attorneys’ briefs to make their decisions.
In January 2006, PETA filed suit alleging MSU violated the Mississippi Public Records Act when it was denied records of dental experiments and other tests on animals conducted since 1999 for Iams.
The Public Records Act requires that records be furnished to the public either free of charge or in return for reasonable fees.
Iams’ attorney James P. Streetman III of Jackson has argued that the experiments are the company’s intellectual property. He has said Iams has made a substantial investment at Mississippi State in order to develop and protect that property.
PETA said it didn’t want trade secrets. PETA said it only wanted to know what happened to the animals at Mississippi State.
PETA claimed Mississippi State wanted an advance fee of $40,497 for the documents it requested. When it reduced the number of pages asked for, PETA claims MSU told them that only 19 of the requested pages would be sent and the cost would be $1,000.
The university claimed the remaining pages contained proprietary information, according to court documents.
In her ruling in December 2006, Colom said the type and number of animals used in an experiment, whether surgery will be performed, and information related to animals’ pain and discomfort do not qualify as trade secrets.
“Having carefully reviewed each and every protocol submitted by MSU and Iams, this court hereby finds that the protocols themselves are not a trade secret,” Colom said.
Colom also ruled that the documents were not exempt from release under the Public Records Act.