Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 21, 2024

In response to “Hopkins barn owl lab faces scrutiny from PETApublished on December 15, 2020:

Hopkins experimenter Shreesh Mysore seems to have difficulty deciding if his grotesque experiments on owls are actually worthwhile, and he may have committed a crime by having birds to experiment on at all.

In a recent article in The News-Letter, Mysore defended his practice of bolting a metal rod to the skulls of the owls he experiments on to immobilize them, saying it has a “long history” of “scientific value.” Yet in a recent audio recording, he admitted the same technique could “change the way the brain is solving problems, and we might misinterpret what’s happening or misunderstand” the results. 

If nothing else, the contradiction serves to highlight the violence in Mysore’s experiments. He cuts into owls’ skulls, screws and glues metal devices onto their heads, pokes electrodes around in their fully conscious brains and bombards them with lights and sounds for up to 12 hours while they are immobilized. The experiments are so cruel it’s incredulous that $2.5 million in University and taxpayer funds are wasted on it.

It also appears that Mysore violated Maryland law in failing to obtain a necessary permit from 2015 to 2018 to possess protected birds for use in experimentation. 

Hopkins should shut the owl lab down immediately.


Lana Weidgenant

Senior, member of Compassion, Awareness, and Responsible Eating (CARE) at JHU

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