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With new permit, Johns Hopkins can keep up barn owl research

After securing a new state permit, a Johns Hopkins University researcher will be allowed to continue medical experiments on barn owls that have been criticized by a leading animal rights group.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has campaigned for years to end the researcher’s experiments it calls “cruel” and “worthless,” The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday. The group has lodged complaints with state regulators about the legality of Hopkins’ testing practices.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources last month issued Hopkins a new permit that allows the experiments to continue.

The university has defended the experiments, saying associate professor Shreesh Mysore’s work could yield critical insight into medical conditions, including ADHD, autism and schizophrenia.

The experiments involve the placement of electrodes into the brains of the owls. The electrodes do not hurt or damage the birds, though the owls are ultimately euthanized, Eric Hutchinson, director of the university’s Research Animal Resources, told the newspaper.