Animal welfare activists are trying to open up the hearings of university animal care and use committees at state universities as part of their campaign to restrict or halt the use of animals in research. So far, however, they've had mixed success: State sunshine laws (which mandate open meetings of public bodies), public meetings, and the federal Freedom of Information Act have helped the activists obtain more data on research proposals, but acquiring the protocols for specific projects has remained elusive.

One university at the center of the debate is the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Last spring, New York State Supreme Court Judge Robert W. Doyle ruled in favor of two animal welfare groups - the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Bide-A-Wee Home Association - seeking to admit the public to the university's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The...

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