Wednesday, March 01, 2006, 3/01/2006 08:02:00 AM

PETA, Public Records and Trade Secrets

From the Biloxi Sun-Herald, a story about a public records lawsuit by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) against Mississippi State University concerning a program funded by the Iams Company, a manufacturer of pet foods. PETA says it wants documents so that it can "know what happened to the animals that Iams caged and experimented on at Mississippi State."

Iams doesn't see it that way and seeks to intervene in the case. Through its lawyer, it says it has "contracted with Mississippi State in order to conduct studies to enhance animal well being," In a familiar refrain from these cases across the country, he also says these "studies are the intellectual property of The Iams Company, and it has made a substantial investment at Mississippi State in order to develop and protect this intellectual property." Thus, according to Iams, the documents are not subject to disclosure under the Mississippi Public Records Act.

The court has not ruled on the motion to intervene. Stay tuned. . . .

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