Court says not guilty and evidence presented against the company was obtained illegally by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

By: Staff  Date: 01/16/2012 Category: | Animal Rights Extremism |

Carolina Biological Supply Company is not guilty of embalming living cats, according to Judge D. Baker in a North Carolina court, and the evidence presented against the company was obtained illegally by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The US Department of Agriculture brought the case following an undercover investigation by PETA infiltrators. It accused the company of injecting embalming fluid into still-living cats and of recordkeeping and housekeeping violations based on videotapes provided by PETA. The court found that the tapes were not reliable because they were incomplete and unclear and were made as part of an undercover investigation by unlicensed investigators who violated the law in the cause of their investigation.

“It is an ominous note that Judge Baker found that 'the alleged violations of the complaint were the result of PETA's involvement,'” said Carolina Biological attorney Kurt C. Stakeman. “The decision aptly describes a questionable relationship between PETA and USDA that each USDA licensee should anticipate in the event of a PETA attack.”

Dr. Peter Hand, an embalming expert, testified that the cats were dead but were capable of postmortem reaction to chemical stimulation. Although USDA initially listed several animal rights witnesses among its experts, it chose to call only two veterinarians, neither of which had experience in euthanasia by carbon monoxide. In addition, one of these witnesses had no experience in embalming. These two witnesses did not agree which cats on the PETA tapes they believed to still be alive when embalmed.

The court noted PETA's political motives and its agents' misrepresentations on employment applications and confidentiality agreements. It said that USDA was acting on behalf of PETA when it sent an investigative team to the company, a team that did not include the USDA agent who had been inspecting Carolina for 10 years. Furthermore, the company had an unblemished record of compliance with USDA requirements. Carolina corrected the recordkeeping and housekeeping violations found in that inspection within 30 days, but USDA still filed charges 11 months later.

The court found that Carolina's recordkeeping violations were a result of following USDA directives and were thus inadvertent. However, although the records had previously been inspected and accepted, they were actually in error, the judge fined the company $2500 for the violations. He also noted that the company was unable to rely on USDA instructions for keeping those records.

The court found the housekeeping violations to be trivial as no evidence of harm to any animal was presented and the breaches were corrected immediately.

Carolina was represented by Stakeman, Michael E. Ray, and Eric C. Morgan of in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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All Authors Of This Article: | Norma Bennett Woolf |
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