Sunday, August 3, 2008

Alabama Vet and Auburn University Researcher Clinton Lothrop: His Experiments on Animals Led to PETA Undercover Investigation

Is Clinton Lotrhop guilty of animal cruelty?

One thing's for sure: Regardless of the answer to that question, in the eyes of the law, he NEVER will -- never could -- be found guilty of animal cruelty. Why? Because he's an animal researcher, and they are EXEMPT from cruelty statutes in his state. But there is another thing about Lothrop that makes him different from many veterinarians who conduct research on animals: He also accepts paying clients for veterinary care. Experimental and expensive procedures that, according to PETA, have yet to save a life, and have separated pet owners from thousands of dollars ($14,000) while forcing them to pay for what is arguably the torment of their own precious pets who they want nothing more than to save.

So, is it animal cruelty?

Well, watch the PETA undercover investigative video of the lab he ran, and then make up your own mind.

You can watch the video here.

When you do -- keep in mind that some of the animals "treated" at this lab were owned companion animals -- loved by their families, who had turned to Lothrop in desperation for help with their dogs kidney failure. Lothrop's program offered kidney transplants, but PETA alleges that in addition to a transplant, the animals entrusted to Lothrop also got mistreated, tormented, and became victims of cruelty motivated by greed and experiments done with little regard for the animals well-being. PETA alleges that Lothrop et al were offering these procedures to companion animals in part to avoid being held to the Animal Welfare Act standards that apply to lab animals. In other words, that Act would have required them to treat lab animals at a higher standard than they treat paying clients' animals.

The video tape includes footage in which lab workers can be heard making comments, and which shows video of the dogs themselves.

One of the most horrible aspects of this video is the treatment of Cutie, a clients animal. Cutie’s owner had turned to them in hope that they could offer Cutie a kidney transplant that would help her.

But instead, this video shows rough, insensitive – and in my opinion abusive – treatment of the dog whose life was entrusted to them. Cutie's treatment is described in more detail on ""

On tape, a technician describes how bad Cutie feels:

“I honestly thing that they should euthanize her because this is horrible, she vomited three times, she regurgited three times . . . she feels like crap.“

Another staffer admits:

“I don’t know if it’s [the procedure] been in her best interest . . .”
but adds that from a “selfish” standpoint, it’s benefited her because she’s gotten better at using the dialysis equipment by using it Cutie.

You’d think they’d be grateful to cutie for their learning and treat her gently as they patient, especially as bad as she felt. But they didn’t. The video shows them holding Cutie on a table. Grasping her muzzle, one staff member angrily says to Cutie:

“If you keep doing that I’m gonna smack you in the head. Cutie, Hey, Stop! . . . Quit. Hey Hey Hey .. . whats this up front, what am I doin to your front here.”

Another mumbles:

“Damn bitch.”

These things are being said and done to a sick, dying dog. This is a dog so sick that she is vomiting repeatedly. As they staff member said, she felt "like crap." She would later die during a dialysis treatment, according to the investigator.

Yet, they speak meanly and gruffly to her, threaten to hit her, and call her a "Damn Bitch."


This is how they treated their patient, Cutie. This was Lothop’s lab. While I don’t know which voices on the video may be Lothrop’s, it all took place at his lab.

They had no more respect for their paying clients than they did for the dogs. One man (who appears to me to be Lothrop himself when I compare the picture of Lothrop on the Auburn website with the man on the video -- you see for yourself) explains that clients are charged for surgeries even if they are botched and the patient days, saying:

“If your surgeon fucks up your surgery he’s still gonna charge your ass.”

Explaining the difference between what he says to clients whose dogs die after his transplant surgery, and what he REALLY wants to say, an experimenter says:

“I’m sorry . . . [but what I really want to say is] Now get the FUCK out of here."

Staff are then heard laughing.

Is this the kind of treatment you want your pet to have?

People -- I gotta tell you, this is how some vets and their staff feel about you. They not only don't care about your animals, they have hostility toward them, and they mock you and think you a fool as they take your money and do horrific things to your pet.

And apparently, the kind of treatment that took place in Lothrop’s lab is emblematic of the WORST that is out there.

Does Lothrop have a problem with the way his staff treat patients? I see no evidence that he sees anything wrong with it.

Moreover, staff are heard instructing the investigator to keep their mouths shut about misuse of federal funds.

Then, a man (who once again, appears to me to be Lothrop himself based on comparing the video with the Auburn website pic) talks about how he moved funds around

"I had a set-up where I could just roll [federal grant money] into another account . . . where I was the only one that [knew about it] . . . and you could just sit on it."

Although the Morris Animal Foundation who provided some funds for the kidney transplant program audited the program and subsequently barred two experimenters (they don’t say if one of them is Lothrop) from receiving funds from their foundation, Lothrop continued to treat "client" dogs after that.

All of the pets brought their by clients for kidney transplants died during or shortly after these treatments, the article says. These desperate pet owners paid in many cases $14,000 for the procedure. Yet, see for yourself the kind of "care" they received.

He is still at Auburn, and still receiving referrals as a “veterinary expert.”

I have no reason to believe that his, er, philosophies about patient care have changed. Nor his ethics.

Why do this outrageous man and the other outrageous individuals working at this horrible place still have JOBS??????????

In my opinion, it is because well-funded university labs and renowned veterinarians -- even those whose ill treatment of animals is on video -- will never be touched by our government, not even those agencies whose very mandate it is to regulate them.

Animals have no votes, no money, no lobby. They have only you.

And apparently, these goons think nothing of exploiting you, the pet owner, and treating your animals badly. Understatement.

Case in point:

How did this ill treatment of animals at the lab come to light?

Did the University uncover it and do something?


Did the US Department of Agriculture, which licenses this lab, take action on complaints thus leading to this investigation?


It took PETA to do this.

OK, so PETA, right? I am ready for emails about them taking animals out of shelters, euthanizing them in trucks, and throwing their bodies in dumpsters. I find that horrific. I condemn it. I don't agree with it. Of course.

For good reason, PETA has its detractors among professed animal lovers.

But the fact remains that they are one of the only organizations that do these kinds of investigations. And these things must come to light.

The very institutions that are supposed to be ensuring proper treatment of our animals in settings like these appear to deliberately look the other way, if not give implicit assent, to this treatment. Only when a PETA or an HSUS acts on tips and FILMS the truth does anything get done. So give credit where it's due and ask yourself:

What's wrong with our government? What's wrong with our systems?

In a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture, (web file dated Aprilo 2006), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) appealed to the Secretary to initiate an investigation of Clinton Lothrop, his colleague Glenn Niemeyer, and Auburn University's Scott-Ritchey Research Center within the School of Veterinary Medicine.

In this letter, PETA's Mary Beth Sweetland, Senior Vice President of Research and Investigations, wrote:

"A PETA investigator was hired as a research assistant in the laboratory of Drs. Clinton D. Lothrop and Glenn Niemeyer and worked there from February 14, 2005 to October 28, 2005. On Monday, February 28, 2005 our investigator began taping his days inside Lothrop's canine lab.

Enclosed with this cover letter you will find . . . . a complaint alleging violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) . . . [and] a DVD that shows alleged violations of the AWA that were caught on tape."

The letter's introduction outlines the alleged violations including:

  • Failure to provide prompt and appropriate veterinary care and euthanasia
  • Failure to avoid or minimize pain and discomfort during procedures
  • Failure to provide exercise and socialization
  • Failure to provide structurally sound housing for dogs
  • Failure to properly clean dogs enclosures
  • Failure to properly train employees
  • Failure to keep proper records
  • Fraudulent use of clients dogs in experimental procedures
  • Fraudulent use of Federal funds

PETA's shocking allegations include the following:

". . . a diseased, geriatric dog who was suffering from blindness and mobility and respiratory problems was used in experiments that researchers believed would kill him . . . "

". . . a dog who was in an advanced state of kidney failure was left to die for over a week before he was finally euthanized . . . "

" . . . a dog who underwent full-body irradiation was housed in a tiny cage, where she could not avoid her own vomit and excrement; and litters of puppies who were used in experiments by Iams died over a six-month period from an outbreak of canine brucellosis."

This document further describes bone-chilling allegations of Lothrop's treatment of the animals. Citing statements of a research assistant, Sweetland quotes:

". . . a research technician [recounted] witnessing dogs 'screaming' in pain when large needles bored through their bones; Lothrop conducted a bone marrow extraction on a dog using a needle with a burr on it, breaking the needle on the dog's bone and repeating the painful procedure; vet students described Lothrop's incompetent manner of drawing blood from animals, imitating stabbing motions while explaining: 'Lothrop harpoons them . . . He sticks [the needle] in and he's like, 'OK [the vein] could be over here . . . alright, well, it's not there, how about over here?"

The letter contains numerous other startling allegations, including that Lothrop has been breeding dogs with genetic mutations at his home and them bringing them into the lab to experiment on them; they also assail Lothrop and colleague Micheal Tillson's canine kidney transplants, which have been offered to and performed on companion animals at a cost, they say, of approximately $15,000 each. PETA alleges that all of the dogs who underwent this procedure "died horrible deaths within a very short time of undergoing the transplants - a result expected by Lothrop and Tillson, who seem to be exploiting clients dogs in an attempt to sidestep AWA [Animal Welfare Act] requirements and who are certainly using client funds to bolster what they refer to as their 'slush fund.'"

Lothrop and Tillson ran the kidney transplant laboratory. Tillson was married to a woman who works for Iams. Iams cruel animal experiments have long since been revealed.

Shocking, isn't it? Why would Big Wig, Famous Vets working at one of our nations few veterinary schools actually be tormenting dogs?

It might shock people to know that in many veterinary programs in the United States, veterinary students are required not merely to TORMENT animals as a part of their training, but also to needlessly kill them in what are called "terminal surgeries.

The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights compiled a report in 2000 on the use of animals in our nations veterinary schools. While this report was for the 1998-1999 school year, and one would hope things have improved since then, nonetheless these types of surgeries continue.

In that year, veterinarians in training at Auburn University conducted 267 "Terminal and Detrimental" surgeries on animals.

"Detrimental" procedures were those procedures that caused short-term or permanent, minor or major harm to an animal without the goal or possibility of improving the individual animal's health or well-being. Examples included, but were not limited to, surgery on healthy animals; invasive medical diagnostics without the medical justification for performance or intent to treat abnormal findings; terminal procedures on healthy animals . . . protocols that involved the killing of an animal to be used as a cadaver for a procedure(s)."

"Terminal procedures were those procedures that resulted in the death of the animal, regardless of the health of the animal or the outcome of the procedure . . . "

In spite of these shocking revelations, Lothrop continues to be highly regarded in his field and continues to hold a Sr. Scientist position at the Auburn's Research Center.

And I would assume that he has not been charged with animal cruelty, in spite of this tape.

You see, our laws make sure that vets can be as cruel as they wanna be -- veterinarians are exempt from animal cruelty laws in a majority of U.S. States. While my reading of Alabama's cruelty statutes does not lead me to conclude that Alabama is one of them, there is another reason that Lothrop and his goons would be exempt:

The cruelty statutes in Alabama exempt: "Academic and research enterprises that use dogs or cats for medical or pharmaceutical research or testing."

You see, the people with the money always make sure that the laws can't be applied to them.

Advice to pet owners:

When you take your pet to an expensive, educational veterinary center where experimental treatments are offered, ask yourself: Is it possible that my money is underwriting cruelty -- not only to other pets, but also to my own.

And once you've asked that question, try to do some research to indeed arrive at an answer, before your beloved animal gets the treatment Cutie and the other doomed patients got.

In particular, if anyone ever recommends you seek help from Auburn University, read PETA's summary of the "10 Things That are Very Wrong at Auburn," and think again.

  • 1. Dog guardians are misled about their animal companions’ almost non-existent chance of survival and the pain and misery that they will have to endure from the irradiation and surgery.
  • 2. The kidneys of “mismatched” dogs are switched, and the dogs die.
  • 3. Transplant veterinarians mock grieving guardians behind their backs.
  • 4. AU veterinarians charge approximately $14,000 for each surgery and put the money into a “slush fund.”
  • 5. AU staff members do not know how to properly perform kidney dialysis treatments (using a dialysis machine) for which clients are charged vast sums of money, so the staff members don’t know if the dog’s blood is being cleared of toxins.
  • 6. Dogs used in kidney transplant experiments suffer greatly without receiving proper veterinary care or euthanasia.
  • 7. Dogs go insane from being kept for years in cages without being walked or given any attention.
  • 8. Dogs come down with heartworms because they are not given a basic preventive medicine.
  • 9. A government grant for an unrelated experiment is used to conduct dog transplants.
  • 10. Dogs in critical condition are left unattended."

Now for my opinion:

The people shown in this video, including Lothrop, are clearly, evidently, OUT-and-OUT SADISTS who, in a just universe would suffer the torments of the inner circle of hell for their horrendous torment of innocent animals and their soulless mockery of the people whose money they take and who love their pets.

I did, however, say in a just universe. Which we clearly do not live in.

I believe these people are MONSTERS. They aren't good enough to lick the toenails of the poor animals they torment. Every breath they take is a waste of good oxygen.


Video of horrific things being done at Lothrop's Lab

PETA's letter to the USDA

PETA Press Release

Announcement that Morris Animal Foundation had Barred Auburn Researchers from Future Funding

Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights -- Statistics on the Needless Killing of Animals at Veterinary Schools

Alabama Vet Board Watch Site. This site is maintained by a consumer who lost her pet after a surgery conducted to find an intestinal obstruction that wasn't there. This surgery had, according to her site, been originally recommended by Lothrop. Although Lothrop is not the subject of the complaint, this pet owner alleges that this surgery contributed to the death of her dog. The veterinary board dismissed the complaint. Read and judge for yourself.

Clinton Lothrop's Page at Auburn. Take a good look at him, then watch the video of the chamber of horrors, see if you can pick him out.

More experiments conducted by Lothrop

Cat experiment - Quote: "We reconstituted four cats that had been lethally irradiated with autologous bone marrow that had been infected with the N2 or SAX retroviral vector"